Herald on Sunday on Labour

June 23rd, 2014 at 7:00 am by David Farrar

The editorial:

What would John Key have done in David Cunliffe’s position this week? Party members must be asking themselves that question and they probably know the answer. Facing persistent questions on something he had denied, a more cautious leader would have suspected he might be wrong. Cunliffe could have said something such as, “I don’t recall ever assisting a residency application for Donghua Liu but in view of these questions I will check my records”.

That is not Cunliffe’s style, it sounds more like … David Shearer. Less than a year after Shearer relinquished the leadership, Labour’s prospects have gone from bad to worse. This week a Herald-DigiPoll survey found the party on 30 per cent, 20 points behind National. Polls the previous week for One News and 3 Newshad almost exactly the same figures. A fourth poll, published on Thursday, was worse. Labour had dropped to just over 23 per cent.

This is abysmal for a major party just three months out from an election.

Talking of polls, The Political Scientist looks at the Fairfax poll and finds the major trend is Labour voters going undecided. He looks at the support levels if you leave the undecideds in and it is National 44%, Labour 18%, Greens 9% and NZ First 2.5% with around 22% undecided.

The Labour core support is almost half that of November 2012.

Now that they are inside the three months, Labour MPs can change their leader if necessary without reference to the wider membership and affiliated unions whose votes put Cunliffe into the leadership last year. This week, Cunliffe said the Labour movement had a word for any such move against him. The caucus would have recognised that veiled reference to “scabs” as a rallying call to the unions and left-wing members. When its leader has to resort to that sort of talk, Labour is in disarray.

They can’t even release their party list on time, because they’re in crisis.

With no alternative leader coming forward, the party’s only hope is that Cunliffe can be an effective campaigner. There were signs in the leadership contest last year that he might be. His supreme confidence and his theatrical gestures could shine in television debates. But stubborn pride could be his undoing if it prevents him admitting uncertainty or conceding he could be wrong, as it did on the Liu letter this week.

I say he should stand firm, and keep refusing to apologise!

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27 Responses to “Herald on Sunday on Labour”

  1. redqueen (555 comments) says:

    He’s done nothing wrong…it’s all just a big misunderstanding…and probably someone else fault. Oh, no, wait, it’s a National Party smear campaign, that’s it!

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  2. Barnsley Bill (983 comments) says:

    The people at the top of Labours list better make sure they have food tasters and look down before they get in elevators for the next eight and a half weeks.
    Should probably keep an eye out for falling pianos as well.
    This is assuming they can stop being in hysterical panic mode long enough to release the list of course.

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  3. burt (8,238 comments) says:

    redqueen

    He can’t have done anything wrong because it’s different when Labour do it.

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  4. burt (8,238 comments) says:

    They will release the list once they can roll the leader – Tuesday ?

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  5. martinh (1,257 comments) says:

    yeah i had wondered why there was nothing in the media over the list.
    “Labour in crisis”- beautiful

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  6. tvb (4,364 comments) says:

    Cunliffe must have got away with glaring at people through his hooded eyes and saying black is white and no one challenged him. But he is in the big time now and he will be challenged not least by a very smart and well briefed Prime Minister. John Key has worked Cunliffe out. John Key let him walk right into the trap with the Lui letter of support when John Key had a copy of the letter. He must have laughed his head off when Cunliffe allowed his hubris take control. Cunliffe is a fool and a liar.

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  7. Simon (698 comments) says:

    After Clark running Labour for so long Cunnlife should have known that Labour had become a corrupt party.

    To be fair to cunnlife he hasnt had time to clean out all the rot. Clealry though he also isn’t very capable and he has got someone who didnt pay PAYE running his office is not a good sign.

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  8. Yoza (1,815 comments) says:

    The Political Scientist blog paints a more realistic appraisal of National support:

    “Further, the largest number of people avowing support for National was in the November 2012 poll at 442 (out of the roughly 1,000 polled). That’s 44.2% of adult New Zealanders. The percentage party support reported in the poll – based on only the preferences of the ‘decided’ voters who were likely to vote – was 46.3%.

    The latest poll, however, has a reported percentage support for National of 56.5%. The number of actual people in that poll who avowed support for the National Party was 439 – three fewer people than in the November 2012 poll.

    So, the reported support for National between November 2012 and June 2014 appears to show a 10% increase in the proportion of New Zealanders supporting the party. Yet, there are (marginally) fewer people declaring their support for National in June 2014.

    Put bluntly, National has pretty much no more support amongst New Zealanders now than it did two years ago. National is not, that is, ‘running away’ in terms of popularity. Its avowed support has barely shifted, if at all. Any headlines that speak of National ‘surging’ in the Fairfax polls or ‘increased support’ for National are therefore quite misleading.

    While National’s solid but stagnant level of support might be initially surprising it shouldn’t be. The National Party vote in the 2011 election was, in absolute votes, only marginally greater than it had been in 2008. It gained 1,058,636 party votes in 2011 and 1,053,398 in 2008. That’s a total increase of 5,238 votes over a period when the total number of registered voters increased by 80,088 electors.”

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  9. burt (8,238 comments) says:

    Simon

    Not paying taxes …. It’s ok when the advocates of higher taxes don’t pay taxes – taxes are not for staunch left wing people – they are paid to support left wing people – ma ma ma move on.

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  10. redqueen (555 comments) says:

    @Burt

    Alas, yes, it’s never wrong when the left does it.

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  11. martinh (1,257 comments) says:

    Yoza
    i read that, they say this
    “Put simply, as the decided vote goes up so does the reported percentage vote for the Labour Party.”

    Theres no proof of that at all. The only indication is that Labour is going down and the number of undeciders are going up, it is wrong to state that that means as the decided vote goes up so does the reported percentage vote for the Labour Party

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  12. Colville (2,261 comments) says:

    martinh.
    Labours support is dropping lower as people get to know Cun*liffe and more people get sick of his lies.
    It takes a fair bit shit behaviour to make a staunch Labour voter change to an undecided but Cun*liffe seems to be able to keep of making the fuckups.

    The Letter to Lui proves he was a slimeball 10 years ago and the lies told since becomming leader prove nothing has changed, I doubt anything will change voters mind in the next 90 days. The voters are going to spank them in September.

    Labour to beat Bills 21% in 2002 methinks, they will be the first major party to get a sub 20% result.

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  13. martinh (1,257 comments) says:

    Colville.
    yep hes looking worse by the day.
    Theres a great comment in the general debate section by RF that happened on newstalk zb today.
    I wonder who is more inept him or Moria Coatesworth.
    McCarten isnt looking too far behind on that score too

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  14. martinh (1,257 comments) says:

    http://www.newstalkzb.co.nz/auckland/listen-on-demand/audio/547056630-mhb—tim-barnett–no-record-of-donghua-liu-s-donations-to-labour

    heres the interview and a very good one.
    Main point i took is if this 100k is proven things are going to get very intense legally for Labour.

    I doubt 100k would be handed over in cash

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  15. thePeoplesFlag (242 comments) says:

    Donghua Liu clearly made up this story about a $100,000 donation. The guy is a wannabe big noting fantasist. Donghua Liu has no evidence, and Donghua Liu is now refusing to comment. It is obvious from his shifty and defensive interview this morning on RNZ that Tim Murphy got Donghua Liu’s statement from the National party directly and has published a downright lie and a smear without a shred of supporting evidence beyond a “statement” which is carefully constructed so as not be an affidavit. If Donghua Liu is so confident of his claims, why isn’t he repeating them in public and swearing an affidavit?

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  16. Rich Prick (1,682 comments) says:

    That “scab” comment is really interesting. Why did Cunliffe think it necessary to tell us, the public, what he thinks of his colleagues who might get ideas above their station? Surely that could have been done privately, we certainly didn’t need to know. Or was it a case of him having to communicate his “scab” message much more broadly to Labour folk?

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  17. RF (1,380 comments) says:

    Yoza. 7.56am. Interesting comments. Makes me appreciate Kiwiblog where anyone can post comments of differing views. Try this over on the standard and you would be subjected to abusive comments before being banned.

    That’s the difference between the left and the right… Smell the roses over here.

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  18. martinh (1,257 comments) says:

    peoples flag
    just wait i think its politics, hes waiting to release proof when the time is optimised to do so

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  19. davidp (3,580 comments) says:

    >What would John Key have done in David Cunliffe’s position this week?

    This question really misses the point. The issue isn’t the letter. The issue isn’t the forgetfulness. The issue IS that Cunliffe built a campaign based on attacking Collins for having a dinner with a donor, and attacking Banks for splitting donations, and Labour had been doing much worse. He must have known that he had used secret trusts, that he’d done immigration favours for a donor, that the donor’s (huge) donations hadn’t been declared at all, and that a Labour minister had flown across China to visit a donor’s cement factory. A competent politician wouldn’t have gambled everything on a campaign based on hypocrisy. He isn’t a competent politician.

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  20. s.russell (1,618 comments) says:

    Good point about the poll. National supporters should be wary about allowing the Fairfax poll result to go to their heads.

    First off, it is almost certainly a rogue poll. It was conducted at pretty much the same time as the TV ONE and TV3 polls, but they both had National ahead about 50-30. That is more realistic.

    Undecided voters are not all alike. The poll analysis shows a lot of those undecideds are Left voters. They are looking at all the Left options and don’t like any. That does not mean they will all switch to the right. A few will. Others will “voice” their discontent by silence, ie not voting. But the net effect is that the undecided vote is likely to break in the Left’s favour – maybe 60/40.

    All those polls were taken before the donations mess exploded in Cunliffe’s face, and there is plenty of scope for those don’t-follow-politics types to take a hard look at Labour and not like what they see. So things could get worse (I’m picking the Labour vote to at least sink below its 2011 support level of 27.5%). But its not over till the fat lady sings. National still has work to do and still faces a tricky challenge of herding cats if it is to win.

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  21. grumpy (256 comments) says:

    Yoza
    By “The Political Scientist”, you mean the prolific “The Standard” contributor Puddleglum? While that contribution linked by DPF is a bit more even handed than her normal left wing contributions on The Stranded, she still is, and should be recognised as, a left wing activist.

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  22. Yoza (1,815 comments) says:

    RF (1,228 comments) says:
    June 23rd, 2014 at 8:49 am

    Yoza. 7.56am. Interesting comments. Makes me appreciate Kiwiblog where anyone can post comments of differing views. Try this over on the standard and you would be subjected to abusive comments before being banned.

    Although I am not a huge fan of the level at which people are banned and the sometimes petty reasons they are banned, I can appreciate the rationale lprent gave on this blog which underpins The Standard’s comments policy. I doubt, however, if someone posted a similar comment to that which I posted here, highlighting a section of the text provided from the blog to which the leading post linked would see me banned, censored or even warned over at The Standard.

    The basic point of the text I copied and pasted was that National’s level of support, according to the polls, has not changed since 2008.

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  23. tvb (4,364 comments) says:

    With Labour’s core vote down to 18% with undecided at 22% and with an inverse relationship between the two means there has to be a reason to vote Labour. That means you like the prospect of Cunliffe as Prime Minister and you can see a credible Labour lead Government on offer. Neither exists and the election date is closing in fast. Meanwhile valuable air time is being lost on donation scandals. This looks grim for Labour.

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  24. Yoza (1,815 comments) says:

    grumpy (229 comments) says:
    June 23rd, 2014 at 10:27 am

    Yoza
    By “The Political Scientist”, you mean the prolific “The Standard” contributor Puddleglum?

    I wouldn’t have a clue about any of that, I just used DPF’s link.

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  25. SHG (312 comments) says:

    Question: has Labour denied getting the money? Now that I’m actually looking all I can see is Labour disputing the stories about HOW they got the money.

    “We have no record of a donation in that amount” and “we have no record of a fundraiser on that date” are very different from “we never took money from Liu”.

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  26. burt (8,238 comments) says:

    SHG

    Yes it’s very different. One is like saying ‘Move on’ and the other is like ‘Move on – nothing to see here’

    Of course it’s different when Labour do it. Move on.

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  27. Judith (8,534 comments) says:

    @ thePeoplesFlag (149 comments) says:
    June 23rd, 2014 at 8:45 am

    Liu tweeted last night, and DPF retweeted that Helen Clarke had also signed a painting for him at the same event –

    Liu is playing them all for suckers – and boy, are they biting! The man is insane, and he’s going to drag all those idiots that are hanging off his every word down the drain with him. There will never be any evidence produced and if those propagating the rubbish don’t realise how they are being played soon, they are going to end up down the crappa with Liu.

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