Labour chess

July 22nd, 2014 at 9:48 am by David Farrar

The current internal machinations in are a bit like a game of chess. Grant Robertson is the King of the Board who doesn’t want to do combat himself, so he is sending pawns off to do battle, and clear the way for him. The latest play is:

  • Grant has the numbers to roll Cunliffe, and has had for some time. This is beyond dispute
  • Grant does not want to become Leader yet. He rightfully fears losing the election, having a divided party, and an activist base that will blame him for the loss. This is almost beyond dispute.
  • Another factor for Grant is he is not even sure if he wants to be Leader for the 2017 election if Key still leads National. He only wants to become leader when he thinks the election is winnable (which it was in the middle of last year).
  • David Cunliffe is unlikely to go quietly after the election, if they lose. The magnitude of the loss will be a factor, but very clear signals have been sent out that he believes the unions and activists will stay loyal to him, and allow him to carry on. This is of massive concern to many MPs, and this is almost beyond dispute also.
  • David Shearer has been picked as the candidate to go up against Cunliffe in the December leadership ballot and then the membership vote. He strongly feels he was not given a fair go, and that he can appeal to non-core voters. He is far more angry and resentful against Cunliffe than people realise, but a complicating factor is he is equally resentful towards Robertson whose faction toppled him. But Camp Robertson would support him. I would put this as highly likely if Cunliffe does not resign.
  • A growing number of MPs are worried they will lose their seats and have been canvassing numbers for David Parker to challenge before the House rises. They are worried it will look desperate, and also the election materials have been printed. However the possibility of Little, Ardern and even Parker losing their seats weighs heavily on them. I’d say this is less than 50/50 probability – there is talk, but caution will overcome action.
  • A complicating factor is the Deputy Leadership. Both Parker and Shearer want Robertson as their Deputy so he shares the success or blame of their leadership. He would rather keep his powder dry until it is his time (he saw when deputy to Shearer how much activists also blamed him) and a condition of his support is that Ardern becomes Deputy.

Again change is less likely than not before the election. It must effectively happen today or next Tuesday. There are 60 days until the election. They are resigned to a result probably in the 20s. Their fear is a low to mid 20s result that┬áremoves some of their “stars” and leaves them too weakened to be competitive in 2017. They will now accept a result of even 29% as adequate.

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41 Responses to “Labour chess”

  1. BeaB (2,123 comments) says:

    They are a bunch of sissies. They should be climbing over each other to have a shot at the leadership.
    All we can take from this is that none of them has the drive or ambition to lead – and their overall lack of leadership is what has sunk them in the polls.
    Too many entitled bums on comfortable seats.

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  2. alex Masterley (1,517 comments) says:

    Robertson is showing a decided lack of spine for one so ambitious.

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  3. tvb (4,416 comments) says:

    They make life so complicated for themselves. No wonder the Labour Party is so consumed with itself but the public is not. Meanwhile they have no credible narrative on how they will form a Government with the Greens who will be a significant part of any labour lead Government

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  4. burt (8,269 comments) says:

    Please don’t use the beautiful game of Chess in describing Labour. It’s a game of intelligence and deep thought… Labour can’t be defined by any of the attributes that describe the game or passionate players of the game.

    Draughts is a better game to describe Labour.

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  5. dime (9,972 comments) says:

    The only way smug fatty becomes PM is if he rolls a sitting Labour PM mid-term.

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  6. Adolf Fiinkensein (2,903 comments) says:

    “He only wants to become leader when he thinks the election is winnable”

    Sums up the fat selfish prick to a tee.

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  7. wreck1080 (3,905 comments) says:

    I cannot believe Cunliffe would not resign if he loses the election. He’s had his chance, time to move on. What a coward if he tries to hang on.

    I cannot believe Cunliffe is intelligent at all in the way he behaves.

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  8. burt (8,269 comments) says:

    wreck1080

    I agree, Cunliffe might be fuckwitty and occasionally a prick sharp, but it seems he’s a long way from “intelligent”.

    I’d challenge him to a game of Chess any day !

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  9. alloytoo (541 comments) says:

    There are no “Stars” in Labour.

    Labour’s next star (and probable PM) isn’t in Parliament.

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  10. stephen2d (83 comments) says:

    Cunliffe has a milder version of what Kevin Rudd has and Grant Robertson is indeed the most spineless and useless “leader material” ever to grace the floor of the Fraser House. Even if the election was suddenly “winnable” and he found his balls “to lead”, I am certain he would lose the election. Coward.

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  11. Yogibear (366 comments) says:

    The time is right for Rajen Prasad to retract his resignation and come through the middle and claim his rightful place as leader.

    Well played Dr Pasad. Well played.

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  12. SPC (5,619 comments) says:

    Contest, lose and be replaced is to play the same losing hand over and over again.

    English lost replaced. Brash lost replaced.

    Palmer lost replaced. Moore lost replaced. Goff lost and replaced.

    Kirk lost and lost and then won. Bolger lost and then won. Clark lost and then won.

    Exceptions, who won first election – Muldoon (around awhile), Lange (new) and Key (new).

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  13. chris (647 comments) says:

    @SPC Which election did Palmer lose? Moore replaced Palmer before the 1990 election, and then lost the 1990 and 1993 elections.

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  14. stephen2d (83 comments) says:

    @chris: Palmer is a loser, full stop.

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  15. SPC (5,619 comments) says:

    chris, sure in a literal sense – but the election was lost for Palmer before Moore took over. No one saw Moore as losing in 1990, the defeat had occurred already.

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  16. beautox (422 comments) says:

    Cunliffe should resign after being slaughtered in the election. Then in a few years he can have another go, claiming that he wasn’t given a proper chance. Maybe Goff can have another go as well?

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  17. thedavincimode (6,759 comments) says:

    I’m waiting for the TV series. It would have even more potential than Jacquie Brown.

    Michale Troughton as Roberston. Jacquie Brown as porcelain chops. Martin Clunes as cunners. Other suggestions …?

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  18. kaykaybee (152 comments) says:

    I think that perhaps the Parker step up could be a scenario. He has the appeal of three day old fish, is a wet as a fresh one and it’s highly conceivable that many from safe seats might cynically support him as his tanking would force a huge rebrand. Of course Cunliffe might do a via council phoenix, especially if the activists keep on telling themselves, despite all the evidence to the contrary,that NZ wants to lurch left. What part of the left is crowded do they NOT GET!!!!

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  19. ROJ (121 comments) says:

    KKB – recall that the Labour strategist is McCarten.

    Its like a horse race with a nervous starter – put the blinkers on!

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  20. kaykaybee (152 comments) says:

    ROJ – he’s Cunliffe’s COS as I understand it, and there’s no love lost between him and the LP at large!

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  21. Yogibear (366 comments) says:

    @the Davincimode

    It should be called 3 Davids and a Generous Grant

    D Parker played by a Thunderbird Puppet

    D Clark played by his doppelganger Adrian Edmonson (from the Young Ones and Bottom)

    While Martin Clunes is a good option for Cunliffe, I would prefer a large ginger Persian cat

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  22. chris (647 comments) says:

    It would be funny if Parker took over the leadership before the election, but then Labour failed to get enough percentage of the vote for him to get his list seat. Even better would be if Cunliffe failed to win his electorate and they didn’t get enough for him to get his list seat :)

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  23. ROJ (121 comments) says:

    He who has the ear …

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  24. Paulus (2,626 comments) says:

    stephen2d

    Palmer was not a tosser, he created the “Waitangi Tribunal” and the “according to the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi “.

    He was more than a prick a real example of the worse of socialism – by the above he has damaged New Zealand considerably, and it is still going on 20 years later.

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  25. Other_Andy (2,676 comments) says:

    Oh yes, lets change Cunliffe for Robertson because a gay guy is going to be a vote winner for those blue collar voters.

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  26. s.russell (1,640 comments) says:

    I think Cunliffe is seriously deluded if he thinks he can retain the support of any significant chunk of unions or activists after leading Labour to its worst result since 1928 (or possible worse). Even they are smart enough to see the Cunliffe is hopeless.

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  27. G152 (336 comments) says:

    Labour – – more a movement than a mover

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  28. Chris2 (766 comments) says:

    All I know of Roberston is that in his entire working life his income has come from the taxpayer – whether as a public servant, academic or MP.

    There was a time when a Labour Leader could never have been elected without some history of championing the workers that Labour purport to represent, by actually having been a worker themselves.

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  29. edhunter (546 comments) says:

    In what alternate reality does a team of Robertson & Arden lead the Labour Party back into relevance & back into government?
    Sounds more like a nightmare to me & I imagine also to “Waitakere” man.

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  30. RRM (9,917 comments) says:

    No internal machinations are going to turn Labour around. NONE of Helen’s remaining c list also-rans are good enough on their own. They need a gamechanger.

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  31. tas (625 comments) says:

    Labour may want to avoid a Rudd scenario. If Cunliffe is dumped before the election, he can claim that he didn’t get his chance and will try to make a comeback, like Rudd did. If Cunliffe has a 2X% election result to his name, then his case for a comeback is much weaker. When Rudd finally got the chance to lose an election, he quit thereafter.

    Keeping Cunliffe until September 21st is probably in the best interests of Labour: It minimises the chance of Cunliffe sticking around or going for a comeback. And I doubt a change in leader will make a big difference, given the timing and the (lack of) options available.

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  32. kowtow (8,439 comments) says:

    Labour chess?

    Too many queens ,no king ,and pawns who don’t know who to back.

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  33. Tarquin North (296 comments) says:

    Hope they’re better at chess than the Coatville kraut.

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  34. Yvette (2,808 comments) says:

    Labour has two whether men. The one who was on television and was right then more often than he is now, and Robertson: a Fair-Weather Only Leader.

    With any justice, not standing for the possible betterment of the Party now, may see the Party disintegrate enough that it won’t be worth being Labour Leader after Election Day.

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  35. slightlyrighty (2,475 comments) says:

    Only Labour could lose a chess game with the number of queens they actually have.

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  36. Colville (2,268 comments) says:

    How long till they parachute Helen Kelly in as a Leadership candidate?

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  37. Tarquin North (296 comments) says:

    Thanks Colville, I now have this terrible vision of Helen kelly parachuting in, unfortunately you can see up her dress! God I need help. I’m off to burn my eyes out.

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  38. PhilP (163 comments) says:

    “But Camp Robertson would support him”

    I wonder if the pun was intended DPF?

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  39. Mark (1,488 comments) says:

    Labour is in complete disarray with a leader that is simply stumbling from cock up to cock up. The rot has been a long time in the making but giving the Unions a major part in the election of the leader is going to be the major constraint to rebuilding an electable party.

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  40. publicwatchdog (2,593 comments) says:

    But what if John Key’s ‘personal popularity’ plummets – when the public start questioning what role this ex-Wall St banker played in the repeal of the Glass Steagall Act in November 1999? The effect being to leave the derivatives market without regulation – at that time John Key was the Head of derivatives for Merrill Lynch, and a Foreign Exchange Advisor for the New York Federal Reserve. So – how much is John Key personally responsible for the Global Financial Crisis arising from the collapse of the derivatives market? How much is John Key personally responsible for the collapse of the Irish economy? Will John Key front on any debates in Helensville on these issues? I doubt it. Penny Bright

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  41. Fisiani (1,039 comments) says:

    When you stop sponging on ratepayers and finally pay your rates, your fines and your court costs you can have an opinion. You are just an annoying waste of time.

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