The Cunliffe conspiracy theory on why he lost

November 5th, 2015 at 3:00 pm by David Farrar

David Cunliffe gave a speech last in Parliament’s general debate which sounded more like a blog post on a left wing blog. In fact it reminded me of the Lord Ashcroft finding about UK Labour supporters who blamed their loss on the media and voters being dumb and fooled by the Government.

Here’s some quotes:

So why are the Romans still in Rome? Why is the National Party there? Well, it cannot be Steven Joyce and his talent for inflatable sheep; it cannot be John Key peeing in the shower and the pockets of the All Blacks. It has got to be more important than that, and it is. So I want to just reflect on the means of control by this Government, because, in rugby terms, it is very simple. It is not that it has a faster back line, it is not that it has faster forwards; they just screw the scrum. Here is how it does it: creeping influence in the media; undermining Public Service neutrality; politicising community groups; and threatening those who object to it. And, of course, the legendary National Party dirty tricks machine.

So Cunliffe says Labour lost because of all these things – nothing to do with policies or leadership.

It is a standing joke that prime-time TV is a choice between right Paul Henry, National candidate, and righter the irreplaceable Mike Hosking—irreplaceable because he pops up just about everywhere.

Umm Paul Henry is not in prime time. That is Duncan Garner and Heather du-Plessis-Allen. But Labour hates having any prominent media voices who don’t share their world-view.

If you do not believe me, just ask John Campbell , Carol Hirschfeld , Julien Wilcox , Brian Rudman , John Drinnan , and so on and so forth. Contrary independent voices that have been removed from prime-time TV and newspapers and have taken refuge in the Ark—Radio New Zealand.

So National is suddenly responsible for decisons of TV3, Maori TV and the NZ Herald. It’s all a big conspiracy and plot.

The reality, as I show in my media analysis, is that the vast majority of opinion columns in the NZ Herald and stuff are critical of the Government. It is a left delusion that they’re not.

Well, I wonder what is going to happen to Radio New Zealand given that New Zealand on Air is controlled by the Prime Minister’s electorate secretary—is it going to stop funding that broadcaster that is run by a former National Prime Minister’s chief media advisor?

One of six members of the NZ on Air board is Stephen McElrea. He has a long background in broadcasting but yes was also the Helensville Electorate Chair. But here’s what’s hilarious about Cunliffe calling him the PM’s chief media advisor (which he is not, and has no role in). Labour appointed Judy Callaghan to the NZ on Air Board – and she and her husband were in fact key media advisors to Helen Clark. I presume DC had no problem with that.

The High Court just found that the Ombudsman acted illegally in not forcing Tim Groser to disclose more about the Trans-Pacific Partnership background brief. It is a shocker when the Ombudsman is found by the High Court not to be defending the public interest. No wonder it has got a year’s backlog—and that is why Ministers act with impunity, not answering Official Information Act requests or parliamentary questions, because they know that by the time the appeal is heard, it will be too late. Why would it fund the Ombudsman—it is just a nuisance.

In the 2008 Budget Vote Ombudsman was $8.3 million. In the 1015 Budget Vote Ombudsman was $12.4 million. That is a 49% increase over Labour. Pesky facts I know.

Around Wellington, public servants are saying in hushed tones that the Westminster tradition of free and frank advice is gone. When was the last time that you heard Iain Rennie, the State Services Commissioner, standing up for public service neutrality and independence? He has not said boo since the Roger Sutton debacle. So where to from here?

Yeah gone are the good old days of sacking public servants because their boyfriend works for National, the lie in unison scandal in the Dept of Labour and the hounding of Erin Leigh for her free and frank advice.

Well, what about the Serious Fraud Office—Craig Foss knows all about that, the Minister of commerce. Well, it has gone belly-up because it no longer talks about taking criminals to justice; it just wants to recover a few pennies for National’s mates, the investors.

Really? He things the SFO is there for national’s mates? As I said, it sounds more like a blog rant.

Oh yes, the last Serious Fraud Office chief executive that actually stood up for New Zealanders’ rights got garrotted by Judith Collins and Cameron Slater—Cameron Slater who was exposed by Nicky Hager, whose banking records were given to the police voluntarily by Simon Power’s bank.

Oh yes Simon Power personally intervened I am sure. Again just barking mad conspiracy theory stuff. One can have a view that Westpac were too compliant with the Police request, but linking it to Simon Power is barmy.

UPDATE: The reference to a PM Chief Media Advisor may be to Dick Griffin (RNZ Chair) not McElrea.

UPDATE2: Worth noting of course that an inquiry found Judith Collins did not act against the former SFO CE – to the contrary she praised his performance and gave him good ratings.


Caption Contest

February 27th, 2015 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar


Photo taken at O Week at Otago. As always captions should be funny, not nasty.

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Hands free?

February 26th, 2015 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

Mr Cunliffe confirmed to the Herald that he “made a cellphone call or two” on loudspeaker while driving to Massey University in Palmerston North.

“A cop pulled me over, I got an infringement notice and I regret it,” he said.

Mr Cunliffe said the phone was on “hands-free” mode and he “didn’t realise it was an offence”, though he clarified that he was holding the phone with one hand.

Umm, the definition of hands-free is that it is not in your hand!

Personally I think the law is a stupid one. The law should be about if you are driving safely and not distracted, rather than singling out specific devices such as phones. Eating a pie can be just as distracting, for example.

But not a good idea for MPs to break the laws they passed.

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Shearer says Cunliffe should quit politics

October 14th, 2014 at 2:11 pm by David Farrar

I think we are starting to see the reality of life in Labour. One former leader is telling another to quit politics. The Herald reports:

Mr Shearer said he would have preferred it for the new leader’s sake if Mr Cunliffe had stayed in the race and lost.

“I think it would have been easier for whoever wins if he had stood and lost. It would be a cleaner break for whoever takes over. His followers undermined Phil Goff and myself and I think he continues to be a presence that will make it difficult for a new leader.”

He said if Mr Cunliffe had lost this would have sent a clear message to his supporters, rather than let them have the impression he could have won if he hadn’t withdrawn. He was also disappointed with Mr Cunliffe’s decision to stay on as an MP. “It would be easier for the new leader if he decided to move on.”

It was a sentiment echoed by several other MPs, although none would be named.

To quote Lady Macbeth – Out, damn’d spot! out, I say!

Cunliffe has pointed out:

Mr Cunliffe pointed out Mr Shearer was also a former leader.

“I think that’s an unfortunate thing for him to say and it belies my long-term loyalty to the party and caucus.”

But Shearer has only been an MP for one and a bit terms. Cunliffe has had five full terms. And I think Phil Goff and David Shearer have a different idea of what loyalty looks like.

“It’s about making sure we set ourselves up for the future so the new leader doesn’t have the same experience I had.”

He had been white-anted by Cunliffe’s supporters when he was leader and did not want the same thing to happen to the new leader.

If Parker or Robertson wins, it is inevitable I’d say that they will also face undermining.

“The people who had attacked himself and Mr Goff were mostly anonymous, Mr Shearer said.

“There are certainly some who’s names I think I know, but these are people who sit behind darkened screens and blog and undermine people.

And several of them now work in the Labour Leader’s office – which explains why so many are so unhappy.

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Cunliffe pulls out

October 13th, 2014 at 3:16 pm by David Farrar

This afternoon David Cunliffe announced he is pulling out of the contest for the Labour Party leadership, and is endorsing Andrew Little. This should boost Little’s chances considerably and may have David Parker regretting his entry into the race, as I suspect if Little wins, that Cunliffe will be his Finance Spokesperson.

This is obviously the end of the road for David Cunliffe’s prime ministerial ambitions. Cunliffe had many political skills, but being able to lead his caucus was not one of them.

It is worth reflecting though that his political career should be judged on more than his 15 months or so as Labour Leader.

He was one of Helen Clark’s better performing Cabinet Ministers. I’ve said many times that I thought he was an excellent Communications and ICT Minister. Also his reign as Health Minister was relatively successful, with the exception of his sacking of the Hawke’s Bay District Health Board.

While I would have disagreed with many of his policies, I always thought that David Cunliffe could have been an excellent Labour Finance Minister. While he has gone left to win over the activist base, he does have a rare (in Labour) understanding of the business world and private sector.

While Cunliffe had many skills, there was no better display of his weaknesses that on election night, and in the weeks following. Launching his campaign to stay leader on the night of the worst election result for Labour in 90 years was incredibly dumb. And then declaring he won’t resign to try and get caucus to sack him, and then resigning, and trying to cling on despite barely 20% of caucus backing him – well it was a sad end to a career which deserved better.

It will be interesting to see what portfolio Cunliffe ends up under the new leader, whoever that may be. Finance is the logical pick, but I can’t see that happening with Robertson or Parker.

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This time around Labour bans secret trusts

October 4th, 2014 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

Labour will tighten the rules around donations for its leadership contest to ensure there is no repeat of the use of trusts, such as that used by David Cunliffe in the first run-off, and any donations of more than $500 will still have to be publicly revealed.

Labour’s new leader will be announced on November 18 after members and union delegates vote following a three-week campaign during which the contestants will travel the country to woo party members. Nominations to compete for the job close in 12 days.

The party is redrafting its rules of conduct for the contest – including donation and spending rules. General secretary Tim Barnett said those rules would be tightened – including banning the use of trusts to hide donors’ identities such as that used by Mr Cunliffe last time.

Not often a party has to change its rules, to stop the (former) leader from using a secret trust to hide donors!

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Cunliffe’s wife behind anonymous attacks on Labour MPs

October 1st, 2014 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

The distraught wife of Labour leadership contender David Cunliffe is behind a Twitter account that anonymously took aim at his rivals and critics.

Karen Price, a high-flying environmental lawyer, is understood to have started the @TarnBabe67 account on Saturday, the day Cunliffe indicated he would resign as Labour leader.

The account first attacked a newspaper for running candid pictures of the New Lynn MP, and went on to criticise others in the media. But the worst barbs were saved for those said to be in the “Anyone But Cunliffe” leadership faction, naming his rival Grant Robertson and MPs Trevor Mallard and Clayton Cosgrove.

It said Hutt South MP Mallard and list MP Cosgrove were “long past their use-by date”. “The jealousy of Cosgrove and Mallard knows no bounds.”

And it suggested MPs who did not back Cunliffe should be expelled from the party.

An anonymous Twitter account attacking Labour MPs, that is really run by the spouse of a senior MP. If it was the wife of a National MP, Nicky Hager would write a book about it, and call it Dirty Politics.

We’ve now had a supporter of Robertson demand Cunliffe leaves politics if he loses.  And Cunliffe’s wife demanding MPs who do not back Cunliffe be expelled from the party. Does it matter who wins now, as it is becoming obvious the party can not be unified.

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13 bizarre statements in 24 hours

October 1st, 2014 at 7:00 am by David Farrar

The Herald has compiled 13 rather bizarre statements from David Cunliffe – and all from the last 24 hours! A few include:

“I’ll tell you plenty of politicians who we now revere who were in not dissimilar circumstances. Norman Kirk in 1966 lost 2.3 per cent of the vote (which is) exactly the same.” – Campbell Live last night.

Apart from comparing himself to Norman Kirk, I’d point out that Kirk lost again in 1969. So Cunliffe is saying he may win in 2020!

Also Kirk in 1966 was just 2.2% behind National – not 23% or so!

“This is the third election in a row the Labour party vote has gone down. Fortunately it hasn’t gone down as much this time as the two previous ones, you could argue that we’re starting to turn that around.” – Campbell Live.

So in 2017 we’ll only drop 1% more, and then in 2020 we may get back to 25% and in 2023 27% and het by 2026 we may crack 30%!

“John [Key’s] a bit of a phenomenon, to be honest. He’s got a bit of a brand there which there really isn’t a parallel in recent political history for. Plus he had the benefit of a 4 per cent growth rate. It’s pretty hard to get governments out in two terms.” – The Paul Henry Show.

It may be hard to get a Government out in two terms (not actually that hard under MMP), but it is hard to have the incumbent Government increase its vote in its third term and get a majority under MMP.

“Isn’t it interesting that John Key is singling me out as the leader he doesn’t want to be up against in 2017. I hope Labour people take notice of that.” – Campbell Live.

I hope Labour people are taking note indeed.


Ilam candidate says he can’t be part of Labour if Cunliffe remains

September 30th, 2014 at 2:51 pm by David Farrar

James Macbeth Dann was Labour’s candidate for Ilam in 2011. He writes at Public Address:

We delivered tens of thousands of pieces of paper with your face on it. But the reality, the hard truth, is that people in the electorate just didn’t connect with you. I lost count of the number of times I door knocked someone who told me they had voted Labour all their life, but wouldn’t vote for us as long as you were leader. People who would have a Labour sign – but not one with your face on it.


The Labour Party isn’t a vehicle for you to indulge your fantasy of being Prime Minister. While you might think that it’s your destiny to be the visionary leader of this country, the country has a very different vision – and it doesn’t involve you.

Double ouch.

I think I did a good job in a very difficult electorate, and would like to build on it at the next election.

However, I won’t be part of a party that you lead. Not because I don’t like you, but because I simply don’t want to lose again. That’s the reality David. The people of New Zealand don’t want you to be their leader. The comparisons that you and your supporters have thrown up don’t hold water – you aren’t Norm Kirk and you aren’t Helen Clark. You’re David Cunliffe and you led the Labour Party to it’s most devastating result in modern history.

Triple ouch.

If you win, I’ll step aside from the party, to let you and your supporters mould it into the party you want. But in return I ask this: if you lose this primary, you resign from parliament. In your time in opposition, we’ve had you on the front bench, where you let down your leader at the most critical point of the 2011 campaign. You ran for leader and lost, then destabilised the elected leader. Then when you got your chance as leader, you led Labour a party that was polling in the mid-30’s to one that sits firmly in the mid-20’s. There is no place for you in this party anymore.

And the quadruple ouch.

I won’t be entirely surprised if at some stage Cunliffe withdraws from the leadership race, as I suspect Mr Dann will not be the last candidate, MP or activist to make such a declaration.

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Cunliffe, Cunliffe, Cunliffe

September 30th, 2014 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

The former (and maybe future) Labour leader has said a number of pretty silly things in the last 24 hours. Let’s start with my favourite, reported by NBR:

JC: Hold on a sec. You are a leader, and you are a bright man. Why didn’t they vote for you?

DC: I think at the end of the day, people wanted stability. They wanted prosperity.

Indeed they did want prosperity and stability. As a former National staffer I’d like to thank David Cunliffe for making the job of National research staff much easier for the first question time of the new Parliament. They now have their work done for them.

Next favourite is this:

But the worst moment came when Cunliffe claimed he was the leadership candidate National most feared facing in 2017.

Yes he said that John Key was scared of facing off against him again. Truly.

Stuff reports:

Today, Cunliffe said he “always intended to step down” but there were several routes. That’s in contrast to his comments this time last week, when he repeatedly told media it was not his intention to stand down.

He always intended to step down, yet last week said explicitly he would not step down. And Labour wonders why it got 24%.

“I am seeking a new mandate from the membership, the affiliate and the caucus,” he said today, “because I believe there is value to the party not only in having a contest but having the kind of battle-hardened leadership that you need to take this fight to John Key.”

If that is the test, they should make Trevor Mallard leader.

Voters had shown that his level of preferred PM ratings were around about the same as Helen Clark in 1996, he said. “And on many measures a little better than Phil Goff in 2011.” 


Helen Clark just before the 1996 election was 17% Preferred PM (ONCB). But worth noting she was effectively competing with other opposition leaders as Peters had 15% and Anderton 11%. Also Bolger himself was at just 23% Preferred PM, so Clark was only 6% behind Bolger.

Just before the 2011 election, Goff was 15% Preferred PM. And of course he resigned for such a bad result.

The final ONCB poll before the 2014 election had Cunliffe at 12% Preferred PM. Behind Goff and Clark. And 31% behind Key.

But these pols were pre-election. What I’d love to see is a media poll now on Preferred PM. I suspect David Cunliffe is now well below the 12% he was on 17 September.


Vance on Cunliffe

September 28th, 2014 at 4:08 pm by David Farrar

Andrea Vance writes in the SST:

Who will be the next Lord of the Flies?

A great analogy. But is Cunliffe Ralph or Jack. Who is Simon? David Shearer?

Normally coups are quick and bloody.

But by his own hand, David Cunliffe’s exit was torturous. A slow-motion train-wreck that played out over a week. His caucus ignored him, defied him, humiliated and deserted him.

And now he’s coming back for some more of the same. David Cunliffe either has the resilience of a cockroach or a total lack of self-awareness. He schemed and manipulated his way into the top job – just as his caucus colleagues schemed and manipulated to keep him out of it.

Could you have imagined what the Government would be like, if they had won? It would be a more civil version of Bosnia!

Cunliffe won the power struggle. But his party lost. Lost their support base. Lost the economic argument for the third election in a row. Lost the election. Lost their third leader in three years. And lost their heart and soul.


David Cunliffe is not the sole reason why Labour is now on its knees. But he made things profoundly worse. He not only failed to connect with voters, he turned them off. And because he failed to inspire the loyalty of his colleagues, he is finished.

The divisions are too pronounced. It seems that there was fault on both sides of the caucus. Parts of Camp David believe the Anyone But Cunliffe faction set him up to fail by sabotaging the campaign. In turn the ABCs believe his focus was always on this post-election fight.

Either way, it now seems impossible for Cunliffe to continue as leader – he patently can’t work with the caucus. To foist him on them again is just cementing a 2017 loss. One man can leave the job – only an immediate exodus of 20 MPs from Parliament would give him a chance of uniting the caucus.

That is basically it – either Cunliffe goes, or half the caucus goes. You could argue that a Cunliffe victory might be good for Labour in the long term, but how could they win in 2017, with that sort of purge?

Cunliffe’s childhood dream to be Prime Minister has died. He’s now got the noose around Labour’s neck, and by driving it into another bitter leadership run-off, he is kicking the chair out from under it.

It will be fascinating to see how the primary election goes. What if Cunliffe wins, but only 20% of caucus has voted for him?

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Cunliffe standing again!

September 27th, 2014 at 2:35 pm by David Farrar

61 National MPs have just cheered as David Cunliffe announced he will contest the leadership of the Labour Party in the upcoming primary.

He will resign as leader at the end of caucus on Tuesday. I presume David Parker will become Acting Leader.

It is inevitable at least Grant Robertson will stand against him.

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A true election night story

September 27th, 2014 at 9:07 am by David Farrar

A true story from a female friend of mine.

Her husband was watching the election night coverage showing National well ahead. He fell asleep and woke up around 90 minutes later during David Cunliffe’s concession speech. As he listens to it, he yells out to his wife “What the hell happened, how did Labour win the election, when they were so far behind”.

She explains to him that they did lose, and the speech he is listening to is meant to be a concession speech

He remarks that it explains a lot.

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How will Cunliffe go?

September 26th, 2014 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

Tracy Watkins writes:

David Cunliffe’s resignation from the Labour leadership is certain. It is only the matter of his going that is yet to be decided.

In the old days he would have been gone already.

Tuesday’s brutalising caucus was a coup in all but name. It showed Cunliffe no longer has any authority over his caucus, who can outvote him at will. They already have, over his choice of Whip.  

A leader who can’t control his caucus or win a vote cannot credibly front National as the Leader of the Opposition.  But under Labour’s rules a coup is no longer a simple numbers game in the caucus.

If it were, Cunliffe’s rival Grant Robertson would already be leader.

He has had the numbers to roll Cunliffe for more than a year.

Yep. But even if there was not the issue of a membership vote, Robertson is wary of having a non unified party behind him.

Robertson’s supporters could force a vote of no confidence in Cunliffe, but that effectively puts the decision in the hands of the wider party and Labour’s union affiliates. In a vote, they could decide to re-install Cunliffe over a hostile caucus. They did so the last time the leadership was put to the vote, a year ago.

Whether they would do so again after the chaotic scenes of recent days remains to be seen.  Camp Cunliffe are convinced they would.

It appears Camp Robertson are not sure enough of their ground yet to put it to the test. Otherwise they would have forced the confidence vote on Tuesday and got the leadership ball rolling.  

That suggests Cunliffe may have sufficient leverage still to negotiate a dignified exit  – one that would give him a senior role in Robertson’s caucus, with no loss of face for him or his supporters.  Neither side was talking up that option yesterday.

But wise heads are surely counselling both sides that the last thing Labour wants on top of its humiliating election loss and this week’s damaging fallout is a divisive and draining leadership race.

I think it would be silly for Cunliffe to contest the leadership, as he clearly has lost the confidence of his caucus.

However I think it would be better for Grant to have a party wide leadership contest, between himself and David Shearer.

Grant would win, but it would allow the party to unify behind him, as they will have had their say. He may face sniping from activists and left bloggers if he is put in by caucus with no say from members.

Also Grant is well to the left of Shearer. It would be help unify the party to have a clear centrist and a clear left candidate, as once their choice is made, people can respect the direction the party will then take.

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Numbers bad for Cunliffe

September 25th, 2014 at 6:40 am by David Farrar

Even assuming David Cunliffe got the same level of support from activists and unions as last time, the numbers look challenging for him in a wider vote.

Last time he get 11/34 votes in caucus. But four of those MPs have gone. He is now at 7/32. The seven are himself, Lees-Galloway, Mahuta, Moroney, Sio, Wall and Whaitiri. Doubtful any of the new MPs will vote for him. So he gets just 22% in the caucus vote, which is worth 40% overall, hence 8.8%.

Last time he got 60% of the members vote. I can’t imagine he would do as well this time, but even if he does that is 24% overall as members are worth 40%.

The unions loved him and voted for him 71%. Of their 20% that is 14.2%.

Add those up and Cunliffe gets 47%. He is 3% short.

Caucus may only be 40% of the vote but if they vote 4:1 in favour of someone else, then it makes it hard for the activists and unions to counter that. The key is the other contenders need to have a very clear agreement that they want their supporters to preference each challenger ahead of Cunliffe. I think that will be the case. Shearer supporters will put Robertson ahead of Cunliffe and Robertson supporters the same.

It is possible that Cunliffe could pick up support from some of the new MPs, but I suspect that is less likely after the mega-caucus he forced on them on Tuesday.

Even if he can lift the union vote to say 90% (which would give him 50.8% overall), then Cunliffe wins but it will be on the record that 80% of his caucus voted against him. Hard to get the public to back you when they know that.

As a Nat, I should want Labour to prolong the infighting for as long as possible, but I don’t think it is fair on Labour members and supporters for this to occur.

It seems there is only one solution. Only one person can fix this. Helen Clark.

Helen needs to pick up the phone, ring DC, and says that while he gave it his best, it is all over, and for the good of the party he needs to step down. I don’t think he’d take that advice from anyone else. Also there would be an implicit threat that she might repeat her advice publicly if he does not. Clark is the one figure who did and can unify the party. She won’t want to comment publicly, but she might do so to save the party she led from what would be a very messy public leadership battle. It would not be polite and matesy like last time. It would be brutal.

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Jones on Cunliffe

September 24th, 2014 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

Sir Bob Jones writes:

Two months ago I wrote that the election was done and dusted and that David Cunliffe – the most disliked political leader in this country’s history, loathed by his caucus but foisted on them by extremist elements controlling the party – was leading Labour into a terrible disaster.

I suggested caucus should change the leader then and there if they were to save their party from a catastrophic outcome.

That produced a flood of bitter abuse from their nasty bloggers, cowardly hiding behind pseudonyms, accusing me of being a die-hard National voter. I last voted National in 1981, but did so this time with gusto, although giving Trevor Mallard my candidate vote.

Hager had the temerity to say right bloggers are attack bloggers, and ignores the left bloggers who don’t even post under their own names.

Serial apologiser Cunliffe should put aside his sorrow at being a man and do the manly thing, namely apologise to his battered party and resign, as convention demands. Unsurprisingly, he refuses to do either which says everything about him.

Never before in NZ political history have we had a leader who has so little support in his caucus, yet refusing to go.

A party that produced the two greatest reforming 20th century governments, namely in 1935 and 1984, has now been brought to its knees by Cunliffe. He will go, even if ignobly, and thereafter Labour must re-organise their structure to take control from the minority interest factions now in the driving seat, and then pursue a new centralist liberal position.

I doubt that will happen. The unions simply will not give up their new powers.

The best line of the night belonged to TV3’s grossly ill-mannered, pushy interviewer who so rudely hammered Cunliffe, but she was partially forgiven when she asked loony Laila: “Is this your Moment of Truth?”

That’s Rebecca Wright :-)

But, most of all, congratulations are due to John Key. His likeable, everyman demeanour, cheerful outlook and genuine humility stood in clear contrast to Cunliffe’s sheer awfulness.

Possibly more than any other factor, this landslide was attributable to a leadership contest.

The winner is more humble than the loser. Says a lot.

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Cunliffe calls for full leadership vote

September 21st, 2014 at 12:15 pm by David Farrar

I said yesterday to a few people that if David Cunliffe loses, and wants to stay leader, he needs to call the leadership vote himself, and he effectively has done so.

He knows caucus would no confidence him in the vote scheduled post-election. And having been no confidenced by caucus, he could never be credible as the leader, even if he won the members and union vote.

But by saying he wants a full vote himself, that is a signal he will not accept responsibility for their disaster, and will fight to keep the job. It is all on. David Shearer made it pretty clear he was not ruling out a challenge, and Robertson said he was considering it also.

But Labour’s challenge is not just the leadership. It is also about their strategy and direction. As Kelvin Davis said you can’t be relentlessly negative for three years, and then put on a positive face for two months and expect people to buy it. Also they need to learn that victory lies in the centre, not in competing on the hard left with the Greens.

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Key and Cunliffe on Q+A

September 14th, 2014 at 1:41 pm by David Farrar

I thought the two leaders on Q+A was a real contrast. If you didn’t watch it live, you can watch online. John Key is here and David Cunliffe here. Have a watch, and comment what you think.

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Finny on Five Eyes

September 14th, 2014 at 7:00 am by David Farrar

A guest post from Charles Finny:

On 3 September 1939 a Labour Government in New Zealand declared war on Germany in support of the UK and others following Adolph Hitler’s decision to invade Poland.  Until the war ended in 1945 New Zealand made enormous sacrifices and as we all know, and as happened in World War I a disproportionately large number of New Zealanders were killed and wounded.  From 1941, the war became as much a war in the Pacific as a war in Europe. 

One of the developments of this war was signals intelligence and cryptography.  New Zealand and New Zealanders played as big a role in these areas as we did in the wider conflict.  Because of this, and because of the staunchness of our commitment we found ourselves part of what is now known as the “five eyes agreement”.  As technology has developed we have received the same signals intelligence as the US, UK, Canada, and Australia.  And our own communications have been protected by the highest grade encryption technologies developed in association with these other four countries.  For a pipsqueak little country of only a few million people located in a distant corner of the globe we have been in an incredibly privileged position.

The Labour Government that saw us through World War II, and those from 1957-60, 1972-75, 1984-90 and 1999-2008 have not sought to change our position in “five eyes” because the leaders and senior Ministers of those Governments have realized how lucky we are to be part of this agreement and knew how fundamental the intelligence derived from it was to the security of New Zealand.  Ultimately the most important function of government is to protect the people.  “Five eyes” plays a very important role in our ongoing security.  There was a wobble under Lange which saw New Zealand denied access to some processed intelligence from the US, but access to the raw communications intercepted by the four allies continued throughout.  Under Helen Clark the full flow of processed intelligence resumed.

I cannot believe what I have just heard David Cunliffe saying about GCSB today.  What we now call GCSB is as much a creation of Labour as it is the National Party.  It is crucial to our continuing security.  It protects us against the hostile actions of foreign governments, terrorist organizations, and international criminals.  Of course the same foreign governments, terrorist organizations and criminals hate the ‘’fives eyes agreement” and want it dismantled because it stands in their way.  I can’t believe that a Labour Leader would align himself with these forces and put this agreement and our position in it so much at risk.  If his senior colleagues do not call Cunliffe on this, shame on them too.  Our national security is too important to be put at risk by short term political opportunism.

David Cunliffe is now trying to buddy buddy up to Kim Dotcom and his hired speakers. If Dotcom’s allegations are correct (which of course they are not), then this happened under the Cabinet David Cunliffe sat in. Is he saying Helen Clark lied to New Zealand? or is he just desperately trying to win back some votes on the left?

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Desperation from Cunliffe

September 8th, 2014 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

Opposition leader David Cunliffe says National is behind ACT’s policy that would see the abolition of the Overseas Investment Office and deregulation of foreign investment.

Oh dear we have reached that stage of the campaign, when you’re so desperate you start making things up. He’s unable to win campaigning against National’s policies, he’s now inventing things.

Anyone who is not a moron knows National is not going to abolish the OIO. I guess he is going for the moron vote.

Cunliffe today  said National wanted the same thing but they needed a “cover brand” like ACT to put their name to the policy.

Must be fun just making shit up!

Cunliffe said he was not worried about Key’s campaigning efforts in South Auckland this morning.
“I’ll be campaigning in Remuera,” Cunliffe said.

Labour’s initial polls showed Labour support was “stronger than ever”, he said.

Wow reality is draining away.

Speaking on All Black Richie McCaw’s photo with John Key and National support tweeted by Dan Carter, Cunliffe said the All Blacks could take photos with whoever he wanted but he hoped the team was not endorsing National.

Good on him for saying rugby players are allowed to endorse parties other than Labour. Very gracious.

Cunliffe was speaking at the annual Chinese  Mooncake festival in west Auckland.

He tentatively greeted the Chinese community in their own language then converted back to English.
Cunliffe stressed the idea that all New Zealanders were equal.

He said the Chinese community had added to “the colour, the flavour and the success of modern New Zealand.”

Cunliffe said he looked forward to working with the Chinese community in the future. 

Except for the ones Labour blame on driving house prices up!


Caption Contest

September 8th, 2014 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar


Photo (c) Audrey Young, NZ Herald

Captions in the comments please.  As always funny not nasty.

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Cunliffe rules out Maori Party

September 8th, 2014 at 11:30 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

The Maori Party would have no seat around the Cabinet table in a Labour government, Labour leader David Cunliffe says.

Cunliffe told Newstalk ZB this morning that there would be a maximum of three parties in any government he led – Labour, the Greens and NZ First.

If he means he would be unwilling to have any Maori Party Ministers, then effectively he has ruled them out. I’ve always thought there is a pretty decent chance the Maori Party would choose Labour over National if they held the balance of power because they have much more policy agreements with Labour. They have never actually been in a position to choose. Their position is that if they held the balance of power, they would hold some huis with their supporters to decide who to go with, and most supporters would probably say Labour.

But now the Maori Party would almost certainly go with National, as Labour won’t offer Ministerial roles.

The move is a desperate attempt to get Winston Peters on side. Winston has said he doesn’t want to work with Maori or Mana parties. But he has also said he doesn’t want Green Ministers. Will Cunliffe next rule out the Greens to try and lure Winston over?

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Cunliffe on Rangitata

September 6th, 2014 at 4:57 pm by David Farrar

9 Dec 2013 in Stuff:

Labour leader David Cunliffe believes the party can win the Rangitata electorate in 2014.

He said draft boundary changes, which give parts of Rakaia to Selwyn, mean the seat is “anybody’s game”. In the last election Labour polled well in Timaru but National was stronger in the Ashburton district.

Mr Cunliffe, in South Canterbury to rouse the party faithful in Temuka, believes Labour can win Ashburton this time.

“Geraldine’s coming back in, we’ll have Point, we’ll have Temuka; I think we can win this seat.”

6 Sep 2014 in NZ Herald:

Labour leader David Cunliffe has dissociated himself from his Rangitata candidate, Steve Gibson, and is not encouraging anyone to vote for him.

“We are campaigning for the party vote in that seat and I don’t expect that he is going to be a Member of Parliament.”

But I thought David said they were going to win the seat!

The Timaru Herald reports:

Labour leader David Cunliffe is refusing to say whether supporters should vote for two of his candidates, after both had unusual outbursts.

So the Labour leader is effectively saying that two of his candidates are not fit to be MPs. All parties have the odd oddball, but to get two at one time!

Cunliffe said issues with Dickson were party matters, hinting at personal issues.

“There are some issues with Mr Dickson which the party are handling. I’m not really at liberty to comment on his personal issues,” Cunliffe said.

What does personal issues mean? Is that code for mad as a snake?

Cunliffe maintained that Labour has “fantastic candidates around the country. We’ve got one of the best party lists that I’ve ever seen and I have huge confidence in our president and in our party.”

On current polling they will get no new List MPs!

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Cunliffe says don’t sack me if Labour loses

August 22nd, 2014 at 1:30 pm by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

David Cunliffe would like to remain Labour leader and take the party into the 2017 election, even if the party loses at the September 20 election.

“In general, and with any new leader, you go through a learning curve,” he said.

“I think there is a very strong argument that it would be a waste of time, energy and resources to go through that process and start again.”

Asked if he planned to stay on no matter what the result, he said, “Unless I feel like I have done such a bad job that it would be in the interests of the party for me not to put myself forward – if that question arises.”

If Labour gets a lower vote percentage that they got under Goff in 2011, then I can’t see how he can make a case for staying. If he gets Labour into the 30s, then his position is strengthened and he probably can carry on despite the lack of confidence from his caucus. If Labour’s results is between 27.5% and 30%, that is the uncertain zone.

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Cunliffe and bloggers

August 19th, 2014 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

Labour leader David Cunliffe tried to score a point over John Key yesterday by saying he rarely talks to bloggers, but that seems a stretch.

One of his closest advisers (priming him for the televised debates) is Polity blogger Rob Salmond.

Greg Presland, a lawyer friend involved in setting up his leadership fund trust, blogs as MickeySavage at The Standard.

Labour MPs and candidates often write for TheDailyBlog, and Cunliffe gave an early interview to Martin ”Bomber” Bradbury.

Plus at least three staff hand picked by David Cunliffe to write for him are (presumably) former bloggers at The Standard.

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