Will he rise to the challenge?

May 26th, 2014 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

Many are saying that Labour needs a new leader, as both Labour and David Cunliffe are polling lower than they were under David Shearer.

But who could replace David Cunliffe as Labour Party Leader, so that there is a strong opposition to John Key? None of the current caucus look up to it. So maybe they could go outside.

Let’s look at the characteristics needed to be the opposition leader.

  1. An excellent communicator
  2. Charismatic and personable
  3. Well known
  4. Auckland based (where one third of the country live)
  5. Able to relate to rich and poor
  6. Not ashamed of his personal wealth
  7. Liked by the media
  8. Leftwing enough to be liked by both The Standard and the Daily Blog activists
  9. The sort of guy you’d happily invite to dinner or have a beer with
  10. Able to take complex facts and turn them into a simple narrative against the Government and Prime Minister

I think the answer is obvious. Only one person can credibly take over the leadership of the Labour Party.

– step forward. Your country needs you.

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58 Responses to “Will he rise to the challenge?”

  1. Zebulon (124 comments) says:

    Phil Goff

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  2. martinh (1,257 comments) says:

    john kirwan

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  3. Barnsley Bill (983 comments) says:

    John Campbell?
    That was all going so well until you shit the bed with number 9.

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  4. redqueen (582 comments) says:

    Don’t give him ideas, David. We don’t need conspiracy theorists as PM…although a prime minister in the House wearing a tin foil hat might be worth it…

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  5. igm (1,413 comments) says:

    Benji Marshall

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  6. geoff3012 (75 comments) says:

    Number 8……this would be a major problem to find some one with all the other charms to cuddle up to these wankers…

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  7. gravedodger (1,567 comments) says:

    Sir Ed Hillary, even though deceased could be a step forward, seriously though, maybe they should accept the reality overtaking them like a runaway loco and just merge with the Greens.

    The clueless electorate seems to be able to ignore the economic danger Norman presents so what is there to lose.

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  8. lolitasbrother (742 comments) says:

    it will be a landslide , quite likely even 2017

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  9. mjw (399 comments) says:

    dpf – there is a better candidate. John Key! Isn’t he already more left wing than Helen Clark?

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  10. MT_Tinman (3,249 comments) says:

    Campbell has been leading the opposition for quite some time now.

    I agree, time for him to formalise the relationship.

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  11. b1gdaddynz (279 comments) says:

    At least he would have to stop pretending he was a journalist! Also there is no way he could do a worse job than Cunliffe.

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  12. tom hunter (5,056 comments) says:

    Why would Campbell take the job? The pay is vastly lower and he’d have much less influence.

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  13. Ed Snack (1,924 comments) says:

    Yep, John Key, who by the evidence of the majority of his policies is sufficiently left wing, would be the near-perfect leader. Except that they hate him right now, but I expect that’s only as a figurehead, if he came over from the “dark side” he might be a hero !

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  14. Keeping Stock (10,398 comments) says:

    It would be interesting to see whether Paddy Gower turned against Campbell :D

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  15. Chris2 (768 comments) says:

    Until he did (but mostly said) a whole lot of stupid things, John Tamihere

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  16. berend (1,715 comments) says:

    Ed Snack: it’s all party politics. The Socialist National Party supporters don’t care about what their politicians do, just that their party wins the game. Labour party will be reasonably similar: if they are winning, they don’t care what the policies are.

    Anyone remember the days when John Key, not PM yet, declared that the National Party wasn’t about X or Y?

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  17. Rich Prick (1,719 comments) says:

    There’s only one bloke, but National has him (and he fails #8 miserably, and that’s a good thing).

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  18. Manolo (14,018 comments) says:

    In the grand scheme of things the policies of both socialist Labour and pinko Labour lite (ala National Party) are very similar. The differences are cosmetic.

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  19. deckboy (18 comments) says:

    For one thing it would not be allowed by the Labour rules. They get into parliament as reward for union support and helicoptering in is out of the question. It would be good to find him off the TV screens but if he was Leader of the opposition we would hear him and see him every day. Unbearable!

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  20. burt (8,294 comments) says:

    11. Able to say “It’s different when Labour do it” and keep a straight face.

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  21. Huevon (223 comments) says:

    Helen Clark…..

    I’m serious. If she returned to NZ and took over as leader, Labour would win the next election.

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  22. WineOh (630 comments) says:

    It would have to be Len Brown surely?

    Ticks most of the boxes and can also add:
    * Intimately familiar with Asian community
    * Already a household name
    * Well experienced in using public funds for frivolous activities

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  23. OlderChas (24 comments) says:

    Buck Shelford! Though on second thoughts, he’s not that rich and probably votes National!

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  24. tvb (4,487 comments) says:

    Above all Labour’s Leader has to be a credible Prime Minister. I assume your list of criteria are tongue in cheek. A person of your political experience knows better that the odd list you came up with.

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  25. thor42 (971 comments) says:

    * Leftwing enough to be liked by both The Standard and the Daily Blog activists.

    * The sort of guy you’d happily invite to dinner or have a beer with.

    Those two criteria are mutually exclusive.

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  26. Brian Smaller (4,024 comments) says:

    John Campbell? How will he arrange scary music every time he made a comment about the evil Nats?

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  27. tvb (4,487 comments) says:

    I guess Campbell could carry a portable sound system and whenever he comes up with a conspiracy he could switch it on or one of his staffers could do it.

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  28. Tookinator (221 comments) says:

    The Mad Butcher!

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  29. wikiriwhis business (4,111 comments) says:

    “Buck Shelford! Though on second thoughts, he’s not that rich …”

    Which is why he wasn’t knighted but surely an MBE was te option. But not from the NZFRU losers.

    Who tried very hard to stop professional rugby and keep NZ players as unanimous as possible.

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  30. Kimbo (1,032 comments) says:

    Other than the fact the criteria used the word “guy”, and noting that the listed qualities are bereft of “executive ability” and “substance” I would have thought the answer was obvious –

    Jacinda Ardern

    1. An excellent communicator: Well, at least she has a Degree in Communications from Waikato University on her wall!

    2. Charismatic? Well, certainly personable

    3. Well known? Gets herself in the women’s mags and anywhere and everywhere – towing a caravan, DJing a dance party, getting picked on by Maggie Barry – she is a walking headline – and they are usually always positive

    4. Auckland based (if yet to win an electorate. Maybe New Lynn after the coming post-election clean out?)

    5. Able to relate to the soup-kitchen clients, the chardonnay socialists as well as the glitterati at the Music awards

    6. Liked by the media because she caters to their essential quality – sloth – by essentially writing the stories for them to regurgitate.

    7. Impeccable Comintern qualifications to pass the “comrade” test at The Standard and the Daily Blog

    8. No longer a Mormon so having a beer with Jacinda is not a problem. She would actually be pretty good company.

    9. Able to take complex facts and turn them into a simple narrative against the Government and Prime Minister? Well, at least she stays on message with the “Poverty” thing!

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  31. doggone7 (818 comments) says:

    6 Not ashamed of his personal wealth

    Making a lot of money, being rich and being lionised for it is a (the?) most critical element in the way our society and lives are organised.
    Nothing to be ashamed of one would think.

    Yet there’s a very tenuous, fragile line to be walked. For example, you buy a piece of dirt on the outskirts of Auckland for a $2 million and somewhere down through time land is needed for housing and you say you won’t sell it for less than $40million, if at all, and you’re King Nasty, a horrible greedy person. When that call comes from those very affluent who easily parrot the cliche “Money’s not that important, it’s not the main thing in life” it is time to smile.

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  32. kiwi in america (2,508 comments) says:

    I’m sure John Campbell could find that he’s 1/64th Maori, put on a pounamu pendant and stand for Tamaki Makaurau. I hear the nominations have reopened!

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  33. OneTrack (3,204 comments) says:

    Campbell? Nah, he’s going for a spot on the Green list.

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  34. Sir Cullen's Sidekick (894 comments) says:

    I think a Leader-Deputy Leader combination of Resident Communists Corin Dan and Paddy Labour Gower will lift Labour in polls for sure!!!

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  35. Zebulon (124 comments) says:

    Actually the suggestion of Jacinda Ardern is a good one, she may be a but young at the moment though. She is one to watch.

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  36. Monty (980 comments) says:

    Has to be Helen Clark does it?

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  37. Sir Cullen's Sidekick (894 comments) says:

    A photo shop work on Jacinda Ardern by the same artist who did Helen’s photo will make her look like Angelina Jolie. Then she can look forward to some votes……

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  38. unaha-closp (1,179 comments) says:

    Russell Norman, stages a reverse takeover of the Labour Party.

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  39. David Farrar (1,900 comments) says:

    Jacinda will get there eventually. Not the next leader, but maybe the one after that.

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  40. Nigel Kearney (1,046 comments) says:

    I suspect Campbell would struggle. In politics the show doesn’t just stop after you have had your say and carefully selected and edited the facts so they appear to support your view.

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  41. Judith (8,534 comments) says:

    @ Sir Cullen’s Sidekick (653 comments) says:
    May 26th, 2014 at 12:28 pm

    Helen made it there without having any photos shopped before she was elected.
    I am damn sure that Jacinda will one day do the same – if she can just find her way through the bunch of dead beats she works with.

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  42. Kimbo (1,032 comments) says:

    Actually the suggestion of Jacinda Ardern is a good one, she may be a but young at the moment though. She is one to watch.

    I don’t disagree (DPF has picked her as a future PM), but really, the Labour Party would stoop to new lows if she ever became their PM in waiting. What has she ever done?!

    Key is a self-made millionaire who started out as the son of a solo mum from a state-house via University.

    Marshall, Rowling, Palmer and Clark at least had academic inclinations and heft in REAL subjects worthy of degrees and post-graduate study. And while Lange was lazy, wasting his legal talents pleading for reduced sentences for small time offenders at the Otahuhu District court, and an erratic airhead in office, he was at least highly amusing.

    And non-academics like Holland, Holyoake, Bolger and Shipley could at least point to successful businesses they built up and maintained (Shipley as a farmer’s wife – no easy job as Jacinda from Matamata no doubt knows).

    Or in Kirk’s case he molded the bricks to build his his own home and was a very intelligent self-taught man. And Seddon, Savage and Fraser were similarly self-taught.

    And Muldoon, while not an academic in his tastes and outlook, was also a ferociously intelligent, as well as a qualified and successful accountant.

    In contrast Jacinda is well-meaning but lightweight, despite the packaging and knowing when and how to make the right noises.

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  43. RRM (10,001 comments) says:

    I would like to nominate Sir Peter Leitch… but I have no idea if he’d be interested….

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  44. Nostalgia-NZ (5,268 comments) says:

    The 10 requirements all fit JK except maybe 8 which says more about the LP at the moment rather than the type of person they need to lead them.

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  45. RRM (10,001 comments) says:

    I just don’t see Jacinda Ardern making it. Too lightweight.

    Say what you like about Helen Clark but she was never lightweight.

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  46. michaelmouse (16 comments) says:

    John Campbell? do me a favour. Campbell is the sort of white liberal, lilly-livered, handwringing, PC soft cock I despise. The types you meet at Grey Lynn dinner parties.

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  47. Judith (8,534 comments) says:

    @ Kimbo (503 comments) says:
    May 26th, 2014 at 12:39 pm

    Actually, Key never started out from a State House. When he was born his parents were business owners.

    Shipley only made to PM by default – I doubt she would ever have got there but by the foul means she used.

    Lange may have been an air-head, but a very successful and well liked one, who must have had something substantial in his head other than air, to have got as far as, well, our current PM

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  48. Kimbo (1,032 comments) says:

    When he was born his parents were business owners.

    OK, thanks. But she ended up as a solo mum? Don’t see how it detracts from the essential narrative. Over to you…

    Shipley only made to PM by default – I doubt she would ever have got there but by the foul means she used.

    Like Mike Moore? At least in Mike’s case he could point to the fact that others loaded the gun for him to pull the trigger. And then took him down three years later – and plotted to do so DURNG an election he almost won against the odds. Don’t know what your definition of “foul’ is, but I’d suggest that puts Moore’s successor well into the Richard III category!

    I don’t dispute Lange was well-liked. Or at least very funny – which IS a sign of intelligence. And taking down Muldoon was an impressive political achievement. But successful? Um, I’m not too sure you can point to another NZ administration that blew apart at the seams because the PM hit the self-destruct button as he did in early 1988. The next 18 months of Lange’s Premiership were a shambles, and the 4th Labour Government signed its own death warrant right from the moment he arbitrarily and unconstitutionally stopped for his” cup of tea”. The heavy-lifting was done by the likes of Douglas and Prebble.

    In the one policy matter that Lange took on his shoulders his stuffing around with ANZUS/the nuclear issue was a testimony to his indecisiveness, and inability to deal with confrontation situations. Anyone remember he made himself Minister of Education after the 1987 election?!

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  49. Judith (8,534 comments) says:

    @ Kimbo (504 comments) says:
    May 26th, 2014 at 1:02 pm

    Success is a subjective word in my opinion.

    Lange, like Key, aspired to be Prime Minister – a goal they both achieved, which in my books, makes them successful. Also, within the standard of social success, being PM would surely be regarded as ‘successful’ – especially when voted into the position by the electorate.

    Regarding Key – his father (according to popular media) managed to drive the business into the ground due to his drinking or ‘wicked’ ways, dying whilst separated from the mother – who was left to repay the debt. All credit to the woman, she did extremely well – and her astuteness clearly rubbed off on her son. However, the family was far from your ‘typical state house tenant’ of today. Most would never have owned their own business or been taught to even aspire to such things.

    I suggest it was not John Key’s humble beginnings that made him what he is today, but instead his mother’s intelligence and lessons, guidelines and example that made him work to be better than average. Living in a state house only makes one ‘average’ or less, if their parents fail to provide them with the aspiration and means to achieve more.

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  50. Kimbo (1,032 comments) says:

    Living in a state house only makes one ‘average’ or less, if their parents fail to provide them with the aspiration and means to achieve more.

    Sounds like you are starting to talk yourself in to voting National this year, Judith. As a former Labour Party member and voter now on the other side of the divide let me tell you: the view from over here is GREAT!

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  51. johnwellingtonwells (137 comments) says:

    What about Alf? Bus driver, archtypical Labour supporter and hard-working man.

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  52. seanmaitland (501 comments) says:

    I know this is tongue and cheek, but John Campbell wouldn’t be any better than David Cunliffe.

    The most important aspect that you completely missed off of your list, is that the person should be genuine. John Key comes across supremely genuine in his dealings with the public. Both Cunliffe and Campbell are fake as its possible to get.

    They have the sincerity of Used Car Salesmen. Just watching John Campbell pretending to cry about the birds dying when the Rena oil spill occurred was a great example of this.

    The people who need to vote for Labour to get them in to power need someone they can relate to and believe, not someone who is a slimy, patronising, salesman, who say things because their focus groups told them it would get them more votes.

    Shane Jones probably would have got the amount of votes of Cunliffe and Campbell added together in the preferred PM stakes.

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  53. Bad__Cat (141 comments) says:

    You forgot : 11. Eyes in the back of his/her head to avoid being stabbed in the back by the other factions.
    After all, this is the Labour Party we are talking about.

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  54. noskire (842 comments) says:

    I’ve heard that Jemima of Play School fame could be in the running if there is to be a new Labour leadership challenge. She fits most of the points above, has media training and no doubt her caucus colleagues would find it easy to communicate with her. The only thing is she’s a ginga, so might be better suited for the Greens…

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  55. itstricky (1,875 comments) says:

    Was this post actually for anything or was it just a paid advertorial for Team Good Guy Key?

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  56. OneTrack (3,204 comments) says:

    “Russell Norman, stages a reverse takeover of the Labour Party.”

    Already well underway.

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  57. OneTrack (3,204 comments) says:

    “Shane Jones probably would have got the amount of votes of Cunliffe and Campbell added together in the preferred PM stakes.”

    Except Labour burnt him off.

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  58. Andronicus (219 comments) says:

    “A smiling, patronising salesman” says seanmaitland.

    A better description of Key would be hard to find.

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