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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Nine new schools for Auckland

August 13th, 2014 at 3:00 pm by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

National will build nine new schools in Auckland if re-elected, associate Education Minister Nikki Kaye announced today.

The schools would be built as part of a $350 million investment into Auckland education infrastructure over the next four years, Ms Kaye said.

The announcement was made during a visit to Ponsonby Primary School with Prime Minister John Key this afternoon.

“We have recently invested in new schools in areas like Hamilton and Queenstown, and Auckland is an obvious candidate for significant new investment,” she said.

The new schools would be spread across the Auckland region, with four likely in the northern region, three in South Auckland, and two in West Auckland.

An additional 130 classrooms would also be built at existing school sites across the Auckland region to deal with forecast roll growth, Ms Kaye said.

A further eight schools would be renovated.

“We will deal with major redevelopments at Western Springs College in Western Springs, Southern Cross Campus (second stage) in Mangere East, and Sherwood Primary in Browns Bay as first cabs off the rank if we are returned to Government at the election.

That’s a significant amount of money for Auckland schools.

Funding would come from a mixture of the Future Investment Fund — which contains the proceeds from asset sales, and existing baselines including possible public/private partnerships, Ms Kaye said.

Those awful partial asset sales, helping fund new schools. How terrible.

Stuff reports:

Labour would make the same investments if elected, as it was “business-as-usual, baseline capital investment for any government,” he said.

How? Will they add this to their $17 billion? These are capital works being brought forward many years, which are not currently funded.

Cunliffe said public-private partnerships were the “trick” of the announcement.

“Now this is creeping privatisation of the education system – there is no economic case for it, there is not enough risk to be managed in a school to justify the higher private cost of capital,” he said.

A PPP is not privatisation. In the last Labour Government David Cunliffe was a huge proponents of PPPs. But if Labour is ruling out PPPs, where are they going to find the money? It doesn’t grow on trees.

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Cunliffe and Dotcom

August 11th, 2014 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

Andrea Vance notes:

David Cunliffe’s high point last week was stealing lines from the minor parties. He jumped on the anti-foreign investment band-wagon with NZ First and the Conservatives, promising to block the $70 million sale of Lochinver station to a Chinese firm. On the surface, the move was a headline-grabbing populist stunt but is unlikely to translate into more votes for the Left. It will, however, motivate National’s supporters. As a senior cabinet minister confided, Cunliffe is National’s second-biggest asset. After Kim Dotcom.

They are the gifts that keep on giving.

But talking of Dotcom, another Labour MP has gone against Labour head office instructions to not criticise the Dotcom’s pet parties (as they are progressive!) and 3 News reports:

“Political leaders who incite that, namely Dotcom, and political leaders who condone that, namely Laila Harre, have no place in our politics,” says Labour Party MP Clayton Cosgrove.

Good on Clayton for speaking out.

Meanwhile the hate Key campaign continues, with a video of John Key being burnt in effigy. Again, can you imagine the outcry if there was ever a video of Helen Clark being burnt in effigy? People would have demanded a Police investigation.

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12 people turn out in South Auckland for the Labour Leader

August 5th, 2014 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

Labour leader David Cunliffe has gone out on the hustings in South Auckland in a bid to convince voters an upset election win is “within striking range”.

Cunliffe said he was optimistic he could be the next prime minister.

“I’m entirely confident we can do this,” he said.

“Nobody said it was easy but it’s doable.”

Cunliffe met voters in Otara, where he said he was maximising party support in the traditional Labour heartland.

He described National’s claims it was gaining ground in Mangere and other parts of South Auckland as “absolute rubbish”.

“Our polling shows the reverse … It’s a desperate PR sideshow from the National Party and there’s no truth to it.”

Cunliffe told a small group of about 12 people who turned up to hear him speak at Manukau Institute of Technology that the best thing for jobs and the economy would be to oust National.

Only 12 people turned up in South Auckland to hear the Labour Party Leader. Wow.

Labour was within 3 per cent or 4 per cent of forming a coalition government, he said.

They are within 3% to 4%, but only if the coalition includes the Greens, NZ First, Mana and Internet parties.

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Gower asks why Cunliffe is scared of Dotcom?

July 26th, 2014 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

Patrick Gower writes:

David Cunliffe should forget about fretting over his red scarf and start worrying about the black tracksuit.

Yes, Kim Dotcom’s black tracksuit is all over the political scene once again – and Cunliffe is running scared, refusing to rule Internet-Mana out even though voters think he should.

Internet-Mana is on the rise big-time and the Dotcom-boom is hurting Labour.

Cunliffe has left the door open to Labour working with Internet-Mana to form as Government. But the latest 3 News-Reid Research poll shows a majority of voters want Labour to rule them out.

Voters were asked:

Should Labour work with Internet Mana to form a Government?

  • NO, rule them out: 59 percent
  • YES, work with them: 29 percent
  • Don’t know: 12 percent

Even a majority of Labour voters want Cunliffe to rule out a coalition with Internet-Mana.

  • NO, rule them out: 47%
  • YES, work with them: 40%
  • Don’t know: 13%

A lot of Labour supporters would rather Labour lose, than have Dotcom having his proxies in the Government.

So the rise of Internet-Mana has created a big problem for Labour. Dotcom and Harawira are love-hate figures.

The reality is, with centre voters, they are probably more hated than loved.

There are lots of centre voters who don’t like Dotcom and lots who don’t like Harawira and a fairly decent core who don’t like both of them. The refusal to rule out Internet-Mana is hurting Labour with centre voters.

Hone Harawira, Annette Sykes, Laila Harre. Kim Dotcom and John Minto. It’s enough to send a lot of people running.

Cunliffe’s refusal to rule them out just gives them further credibility and as it rises, Internet-Mana will probably end up taking votes off Labour too.

As its own popularity falls, Labour cannot do without Internet-Mana’s numbers.

That’s why Cunliffe is scared of Internet Mana – he’s too scared to rule them out.

The rise of Internet-Mana tells us a lot about the fall of Labour.  

If the result is that Labour is in a position to form a Government with the Greens, NZ First and Internet-Mana, it will be fascinating to observe!

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Labour MPs enjoyed Joyce roast of Cunliffe

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

John Armstrong writes:

Joyce took the first call in Wednesday afternoon’s general debate — long a platform for Parliament’s better orators — to parody Labour’s under-the-weather David Cunliffe in a fashion that was as clever as it was cruel as it was funny.

Within the space of a five-minute speech, Joyce had revealed another weapon in his armoury — the ability to cut an opponent down by sheer wit — and thereby further enhanced his credentials as the frontrunner for National’s leadership when Key finally moves on.

There was, however, another interesting outcome from his contribution — its impact on those sitting opposite him.

Cunliffe was not in the chamber. But those Labour MPs who were initially tried to ignore what was a virtuoso performance. But their barely suppressed smiles gave the game away.

When the cat is away, the mice will play!

Fortunately for Cunliffe, Labour is also now closer to election day than it was in 1990 when Mike Moore deposed Sir Geoffrey Palmer in a questionable coup which had the sole purpose of saving the party from being completely routed by National.

56 days to go.

Cunliffe’s cause has not been helped by Labour whingeing over TVNZ choosing Mike Hosking — someone Labour sees as biased in National’s favour — to be the moderator for the channel’s debates.

Hosking is a professional. He hardly needs reminding that his performance will be scrutinised intently. Any bias will be blatantly obvious. Which is why there will not be any bias. Labour has every right to object. In doing so, however, the party projects the image of a loser.

If anything I suspect Hosking will go harder on Key, because he has said favourable things about him in the past.

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Another day, another u-turn or apology

July 25th, 2014 at 3:00 pm by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

Labour leader David Cunliffe told NewstalkZB in April that he would be happy to debate Prime Minister John Key “anytime, any place, anywhere, I’ll even do it on Mike Hosking’s show.”

I’m looking forward to Labour releasing their dossier on Mike Hosking. I wonder if they have dossiers on all journalists, or just those they feel are not comradely enough?

I note that Campbell Live ran an entire episode to a bizarre conspiracy theory about John Key and Kim Dotcom, which basically implied the PM was a pathological liar and part of a global conspiracy. Despite that the PM appears on Campbell Live and no one in National has ever tried to heavy TV3 as to their choice of moderator.

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Cunliffe did know after all!!

July 24th, 2014 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

The Herald originally reported:

But the Labour leader threatens to be distracted by internal ill-discipline and criticisms over his judgment, including the holiday itself and a meeting last week with a prominent New Zealander given name suppression on charges of performing an indecent act.

Mr Cunliffe confirmed to the Herald last night that he had arranged for the person – whose case has been the topic of media coverage – to meet a Labour candidate but said he had no idea about the controversial background until yesterday.

“If I had known of the suggestion, no such meeting would have taken place.”

But Newstalk ZB reported:

Mr Cunliffe admits a prominent New Zealander’s possible sexual offending had been raised with him before he met with the man in Queenstown last week.

The Labour leader says the meeting went ahead because no proof had been supplied.

It would have taken one phone call to find out. One could have had a staffer ask the person in question, or pretty much anyone in Queenstown. But they wanted his help with the local Labour candidate, so they decided to do a don’t ask, don’t tell policy.

Now I’m not advocating the man in question should be a pariah. But this episode suggests that Cunliffe’s apology to Rape Crisis for being a man was easy words, but not action.

I mean just a few days after you make national headlines for apologising for being a man to Rape Crisis, and saying we have a rape culture in New Zealand, you go and meet a prominent New Zealander who has plead guilty in court to sexual assault but got name suppression for it. And you admit you did hear about it prior to meeting him, but ignored it.

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Yeah that will fix it

July 23rd, 2014 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

The Labour leader also said he would have reconsidered taking a holiday in the recess if he had known how bad the polls were. His red scarf would get fewer outings after comments were made about the regularity with which he wore it.

“I, like everybody else, need to stick closely to the core issues and I will be extremely careful about those little things, such as the scarf, that can become distractions.”

Yes, wearing a red scarf less often in public will fix things. Genius.

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Cunliffe says sorry for his holiday

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

Stuff reports:

Labour leader David Cunliffe has admitted to making errors, including taking an over-long three-day holiday in Queenstown last week.

Cunliffe emerged from a caucus meeting of his MPs today promising to make changes to the way he and the party delivered their messages and admitting that the holiday was a mistake.

“I take responsibility for things I could have done better,” he said.

“I’m happy to say that with the information that I now have about the movement in the polls, which I didn’t have when I made that decision [to take a holiday], I would have made a different decision.”

He certainly would not have gone on such a long break, though he noted he was also ill for two days “and I didn’t have much choice about that”.

And in another story:

He scoffed at suggestions that some in his caucus were “doing the numbers” on a leadership change.

“That’s nonsense, absolute nonsense,” he said.

“I am confident I have the full support of my caucus.”

Hilarious.

Former leader Phil Goff ruled out any interest in becoming leader again, and while Cunliffe’s predecessor David Shearer wouldn’t rule it out, he said he was focused on the party’s key messages.

Mark my words. Shearer will challenge after the election.

Also a third Stuff article reveals a new side to Cunliffe:

Pray, is Reverend Sue Dickson’s advice.  Cunliffe says he does – daily. 

I did not realise Cunliffe is such a devout Christian.

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Cunliffe meets sex offender with name suppression

July 21st, 2014 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

David Cunliffe says his Queenstown ski holiday has left him “recharged” and ready to take the battle to Prime Minister John Key in the two-month countdown to election day.

But the Labour leader threatens to be distracted by internal ill-discipline and criticisms over his judgment, including the holiday itself and a meeting last week with a prominent New Zealander given name suppression on charges of performing an indecent act.

Mr Cunliffe confirmed to the Herald last night that he had arranged for the person – whose case has been the topic of media coverage – to meet a Labour candidate but said he had no idea about the controversial background until yesterday.

“If I had known of the suggestion, no such meeting would have taken place.”

This is staggering in its incompetence.

You go to rape crisis, apologise for being a man, talking about the rape culture in New Zealand, and then go out to dinner (my understanding, or at least meet with) with a man who pleaded guilty in court to forcing himself onto a woman and got name suppression because of his status.

The identify of the Queenstown resident is not a closely guarded secret. It has even been published in Australia. Rodney Hide has been campaigning for the identity of the man to be published in Parliament.

One can only take David Cunliffe at his word that he didn’t know, but I find it impossible to believe no one on his staff knew. The identity is an open secret. Either the meeting/dinner was not arranged through his staff, or there is something very very wrong in his office.

Here’s the report of the offending:

Over a three-year period, he visited their home half a dozen times, but always with someone else.

On the day of the incident, she was about to leave to do some shopping with her daughter, she said.

While her daughter went to get the mail from the end of the long drive, the man followed her inside and “he just grabbed hold of me from behind”, she said.

“He was tall and towered over me. I said: ‘What the hell are you doing?’

“And he said: ‘But you are so lovely’. It was horrible. His hands were all over me,” the woman said.

“He kept pushing his tongue in my mouth, pulling my head back and sticking his tongue down into my mouth and I was trying to push him off.

“His hands were all around my back, his hands down the back of my knickers.”

He confessed he had always liked her.

“I was totally shocked. It took me by surprise. But I wasn’t scared because I knew my daughter was about.

“I was trying to push him off and he took my hand and put it on his what’s-it and he said to me: ‘This is what you are doing to me’.

The offender, who has political links, was given name suppression. He should not have got name suppression.

Even the offender says his identity is an open secret:

Despite name suppression, the man said everyone in his home town knew he was the “prominent man” in the paper. “It has taken away all my livelihood,” he said.

“Even with name suppression I got fired from a job because a guy had heard it was me,” he said.

He believed he was unfairly targeted because he was a household name.

Again I find it almost beyond belief that David Cunliffe or his staff did not know. And they were also meeting the local Labour candidate.  How could she not know? Again, this was an open secret.

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Caucus anger at Cunliffe

July 20th, 2014 at 9:51 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

Labour MPS are disgusted by leader David Cunliffe’s skiing holiday just two months before the election and will question his work ethic at a caucus meeting on Tuesday, a senior party insider has told the Sunday Star-Times.

As Labour hit a new polling low of just 23.5 per cent in the latest Stuff/Ipsos poll and data suggested those numbers would climb quickly if its leader quit, Cunliffe took a week’s leave to go skiing in Queenstown. That decision has infuriated a significant number of Labour MPs, the insider claimed.

I think Labour MPs need to think more carefully about this. According to the Fairfax/Ipsos poll Labour will do better if Cunliffe remains on holiday and is not out campaigning for them!

Labour MPS are disgusted by leader David Cunliffe’s skiing holiday just two months before the election and will question his work ethic at a caucus meeting on Tuesday, a senior party insider has told the Sunday Star-Times.

As Labour hit a new polling low of just 23.5 per cent in the latest Stuff/Ipsos poll and data suggested those numbers would climb quickly if its leader quit, Cunliffe took a week’s leave to go skiing in Queenstown. That decision has infuriated a significant number of Labour MPs, the insider claimed.

To be fair it is important to have your leader recharged and in full fitness, ready for what will be a gruelling campaign.

“We will be having a talk to David at caucus about his work ethic on Tuesday. We’ll be letting him know he’s got two months to turn this around, and we’re backing him and right behind him but he’s got to lift his game.”

The insider believed up to 20 of the 33 Labour MPs were deeply unhappy with Cunliffe’s leadership, but had accepted that an attempt to dump him this late in the term would backfire.

Those numbers sound right to me, and the key word is deeply. This is not a small level of concern.

Instead, he said some, especially those whose places in Parliament were now at risk because they would not be returned on the Labour list on present numbers, would run increasingly individual campaigns focused solely on regaining their seats. Clayton Cosgrove, eighth on the list, and Kelvin Davis, 18th, were deviating from party line, as seen by Davis’ public backing – against party policy – of the Puhoi-Wellsford SH1 “holiday highway” upgrade.

“Clayton knows at 23.5 per cent he’s not back on the list, so if he doesn’t win his seat, it’s the end of his career. And he also knows his career is very closely tied to the political capital of David Cunliffe.”

The insider believed Cunliffe’s decision to go on holiday showed he didn’t have the qualities to become prime minister.

Would be interesting to know who the insider is. My guess is it is an MP. Insider is a term commonly used to describe MPs. However to be fair it has been used for me in the past.

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Watkins on Cunliffe

July 19th, 2014 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

Tracy Watkins writes:

Private enmity rarely trumps personal ambition. If Cunliffe had delivered on the promise of a more sure-footed leadership, a more organised Opposition, and a clearer direction, the doubters would have become converts.

But Cunliffe has often been his own worst enemy. He has been too loose with details too often and he has tried to style his leadership around American and British-style political oratory. In the New Zealand context, where we are used to our politicians being of the plain Jane variety, there is a fine line between soaring oratory and coming across as fake.

Can Cunliffe use the final few weeks to turn things around? He has to use them to embark on a massive charm offensive with the New Zealand public.

Policy is not the problem. Labour has released a wealth of policy which shows it has a credible alternative plan for government. But voters either don’t know or don’t like David Cunliffe.

Winning now comes down to one simple recipe. Cunliffe has to show them that he is someone they can like and trust.

That is possible, but it takes time. His biggest opportunity is probably the leaders debates, but I suspect he’ll go very aggressive and try and paint Key as an uncaring rich prick, which ironically may hurt him more.

The other issue is that after 15 years he hasn’t been able to convince most of his colleagues to like or trust him, so can he get the public to do the same in 63 days?

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The return of Shearer

July 18th, 2014 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

Labour would get an immediate lift in the polls if it dumped leader David Cunliffe, a new poll suggests.

The stuff.co.nz/Ipsos poll reveals that Cunliffe may have become Labour’s biggest liability, with a significant number of voters saying they would be more likely to vote for Labour if someone else were leader.

Click here for full poll results in graphics.

The effect is sizeable, making a 13.5 percentage point difference to Labour’s vote.

Although a similar effect is seen on National when asked the same question about John Key, it is much smaller.

The finding will plunge Labour further into crisis after yesterday’s poll result cementing Labour’s support in the mid-20s.

Privately, Labour and the Greens now acknowledge that it would take an unprecedented swing against National to force a change of government on September 20.

Some Labour MPs were yesterday privately canvassing leadership options, even at this late stage.

But they believe Labour would be even more severely punished by such an outward sign of panic.

Labour’s focus now has shifted to protecting its vote from further erosion, and preserving the seats of some of its up-and-coming stars, including Andrew Little, seen as a future leadership contender, and former teacher Kelvin Davis.

I think a change of leader 64 days before the election is unlikely, but it is correct Labour MPs are talking. They had their annual conference and their big education announcement, which should have given them a boost, and they’re still polling below what they got in 2011. The problem for them is that the phone is off the hook for many voters.

The major focus of Labour MPs is in fact on the leadership after the election. As I’ve reported previously they are terrified that Cunliffe won’t resign if Labour loses. Grant Robertson has the numbers to roll Cunliffe in caucus. He has had it for some time. But if Cunliffe doesn’t resign, and contests the leadership again despite being rolled by caucus, can Robertson win the vote of activists and unions? Cunliffe could well argue that he was never loyally supported by his caucus, and ask to be re-elected to have a mandate to do a purge.

Robertson’s fear is that he would lose again to Cunliffe, and this his chances of ever becoming Leader will be extinguished. And Grant is a cautious man. So the signal he has sent out is he will not stand.

So my understanding, from highly reliable sources, is that the decision has been made that instead David Shearer will stand again. His argument will be that he was never given a fair go, and that Labour would have done better if he had stayed on as Leader, than under Cunliffe. This will be difficult to argue against. Also Shearer is the one candidate whom Cunliffe can’t campaign against and accuse of disloyalty – because of course it was in fact Cunliffe who undermined Shearer. By contrast, Shearer has been publicly loyal.

Also Shearer has gained in confidence and performance since being dumped, as many have remarked. And crucially, he does not have such a high level of dislike.

So one can’t rule out a change in the next 64 days, but the more likely option is to try and minimise the loss, and then have Shearer challenge Cunliffe for the leadership in December.

However if the polls get much worse for them, then they may move. It will depend on if List MPs such as Andrew Little and Jacindaa Ardern look likely to lose their seats in Parliament. At the moment they are just back in on the average of public polls, and Labour picks up the electorate seats iPredict says they will.

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Slippery on education

July 10th, 2014 at 3:00 pm by David Farrar

On The Nation:

In principle, do you like super teachers as an idea, good teachers getting paid more?

In principle I agree that having excellent teachers is really important but it’s not the only thing we have to do and you’ll find out more tomorrow.

In principle, do you agree with them being paid more though?

In principal I agree with great teachers and great schools. And you’ll find out more tomorrow.

Because will there be a choice here between having an iPad and no donations or having your good teachers paid more?

No, we can do both.

Will parents face a choice?

No, they won’t.

That was on Saturday. And then on Sunday they announced they will not pay good teachers more, as they will use the money elsewhere. So Cunliffe’s answer on Saturday was very misleading. He should have said “Yes, they will face a choice, but we think our priorities are better” – but he gave the very misleading impression that they will fund both.

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Bob Jones on Cunliffe

July 10th, 2014 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

Sir Bob Jones writes:

The Opposition’s role is to hold the Government to account plus present itself as an alternative administration.

The current conglomerate Opposition has fulfilled the first of these but not the second – Labour, in particular, failing abysmally as the polls consistently reflect.

I dislike third-term governments, as invariably they become arrogant, but we’re going to get one – and thank God, given the alternative. The absurd amalgam of Labour, the Greens, Harawira and possibly Harre and Winston is simply unfit to rule.

Well said. Labour can’t even govern itself with the factional warfare – let alone a five party coalition.

Labour’s problems directly reflect its management structure, to cite Labour MP Damien O’Connor, in allowing the party to be captured by a “gaggle of gays and unionists”. These factions control both candidate and leadership selection and have installed a discredited left-wing agenda, contrary to most of their senior MPs’ sentiments.

No Labour leader has ever been so unpopular as David Cunliffe, evidenced by the disastrous polls and also the Reader’s Digest trustworthy survey bracketing him humiliatingly in bottom place with Dotcom and Harawira. Cunliffe was installed against the strong wishes of those who knew him best, namely Labour’s caucus, and now the public know him as well, resulting in a wider disdain.

There are a large number of Labour MPs going around saying “We tried to tell people, but they wouldn’t listen to us”

I know someone who, through much hard work, became wealthy in the last few years. He has a sentimental historic attachment to the Labour Party, as do many affluent individuals, and he was planning a six-figure donation this year, chuffed at his new-found capability to do so.

But he was outraged after hearing a Cunliffe interview following the leadership race. “Will you raise taxes on higher incomes?” Cunliffe was asked. “You betcha,” the new leader exclaimed with gusto. My acquaintance was angry for, as he said: “I’ve worked my butt off and the tone of Cunliffe’s enthusiasm to punish me for this was sickening.”

“Will you now vote National?” I teased, knowing he’d never hitherto done so. “You betcha,” he exclaimed.

Labour are planning to tax New Zealand families and businesses an extra $5 billion a year.

National is laying off Cunliffe, fearful that the caucus will remove him – but they must. As in 1990 with Mike Moore, they should persuade someone such as Annette King to lead them into the election if only to save the party.

She’s likeable, competent and a highly-effective campaigner. Most importantly, she’d recapture the women vote which deserted Labour in droves after Cunliffe was foisted on the party.

Cunliffe insulted his caucus colleagues implying any who opposed him were scabs. A scab is someone who goes against the group – the group in this case is the Labour Party, not him.

He should go with dignity for the sake of his party. The sooner they replace him and also change their management structure, the better – not just for Labour but, more importantly, for the system.

I don’t think it will happen.

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Seen in Tawa

July 10th, 2014 at 11:28 am by David Farrar

sorry

I understand lots are tooting.

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US Consul-General on Cunliffe

July 9th, 2014 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar

An interesting cable on Wikileaks from the then US Consul-General in Auckland after he met with David Cunliffe. Some extracts:

Summary. Up-and-coming Labour Party Minister David Cunliffe is confident about his party’s reelection chances despite poor recent poll numbers.

That was in June 2007.

Pointing out that elections are as far as 18 months away, Cunliffe said Labour had plenty of time to make up the lost ground and would do so.

They’re saying the same thing now, and only 77 days to go.

Cunliffe said there was last year debate within Labour regarding how to respond to the then-National Party leader, the intellectually respected but politically awkward Don Brash. Many in the Labour caucus, Cunliffe said, believed that Brash’s clumsiness was a gift to Labour, and that Labour should do all it could to ensure Brash remained leader of the opposition. Most Labour MPs, however, argued that Key would certainly unseat Brash before the next election. If it was inevitable that Key rather than Brash would lead National into the next election, the argument went, it was in Labour’s interest to have Key in the opposition leader’s seat as soon as possible so that the friction of politics could rub away some of his glow. Better to run against Key when he’s been opposition leader for 18 months rather than only 4-6 months. Therefore Labour kept the heat on Brash, doing whatever they could to speed his downfall.

That strategy worked well!

While emphasizing that New Zealand Muslims are loyal to their adopted country and inclined to leave the conflicts of their homelands behind them, Cunliffe expressed some concern that more radical imams are trying to enter the country and stir up trouble. Asked what tools he had to exclude those who have committed no crimes but still might be considered a threat, Cunliffe turned coy. “Some people simply find their visas don’t get renewed,” he said.

Excellent judgement.

Cunliffe is a former diplomat and is widely touted as one of Labour’s future leaders.

That was right.

Asked why he left the diplomatic service, he said he was more tempermentally suited to politics than to diplomacy. Another reason he cited for leaving was so that his spouse, whom he described as the family’s breadwinner, could return to her law practice. Cunliffe, who spent six years studying and working in the U.S., comes across as genuinely pro-American.

Don’t tell The Standard and The Daily Blog!

While a student, he worked on Senator Kennedy’s re-election campaign against Governor Romney. Cunliffe has a mixed reputation among his colleagues, some of whom have complained to Emboffs that he is arrogant and (ironically) undiplomatic.

Heh.

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A mischievous thought

July 9th, 2014 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

How do we get David Cunliffe onto a marae, where he then says he is sorry for being a European?

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Cunliffe won’t go if he loses

July 8th, 2014 at 4:30 pm by David Farrar

My Labour sources have been telling me for some time that those who expect David Cunliffe to go, if Labour loses the election, are wrong. They say he has made it very clear that he doesn’t care about the support of caucus, so long as he has the unions and activists on side.

This poses a huge dilemma to Grant Robertson if Labour loses. He massively has the numbers to roll Cunliffe. In fact under Labour’s rules, Cunliffe needs a 60% confidence vote, otherwise the leadership is vacated. If they have a caucus of 34, then just 14 MPs voting against will cause a vacancy in December.

However if they roll Cunliffe, and Robertson stands against him, and loses again, then Robertson may never become leader. He won’t get a third chance. So the Robertson Camp are genuinely unsure whether to risk rolling Cunliffe come December. Up until a few weeks ago they were assuming he would do a Clark and Goff and resign if he loses. But as reported in the Herald, he won’t:

Labour leader David Cunliffe says he expects to get the 60 per cent endorsement of caucus that he will need in a confidence vote soon after the election even if Labour loses the election.

Mr Cunliffe has also indicated he would seek to stay on as leader if Labour was still in Opposition. The party’s rules require a caucus confidence vote within 3 months after an election at which the leader must get at least 60 per cent support.

Asked if would expect to get that endorsement even if Labour was still in Opposition, he said “I think that’s quite likely.”

This helps explain why Cunliffe no longer has a target of getting 40% of the vote, but is now saying he just wants to get Labour into the 30s:

Mr Cunliffe had originally said he hoped to lift Labour into the 40s in the polls, but it is currently polling at just below 30 per cent in most.

He denied he had since lowered that target, but refused to give a new target. “What I am clear about is that we wouldn’t have to get to 40 per cent to change the Government.”

He said he was certain Labour would get above 30 per cent – higher than its 2011 result of 27 per cent

So why such a modest target? Well, survival. If he does even worse than Goff, then the caucus will have no choice but to roll him. But if he can do even say 2% better than Goff and get say 29%, this allows him to declare he will stay on as leader, and tell his caucus if they roll him – he will not resign – and win the union and activists vote.

Labour2041

Maybe his tweet wasn’t a typo, and he is saying he will stay on as leader until 2041, if that is what it takes to finally win!

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Cunliffe on Key and Cunliffe

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

The Herald reports:

Compare his and Key’s training and Cunliffe says there is a significant difference in their ideals despite similar boyhood backgrounds.

“There is a clear difference in the way that we think based on our professional training. He’s spent most of his life as a trader, which is by definition taking a series of bets on short-term positions, whereas my training at BCG [Boston Consulting Group] was in strategy … working back from your desired future to what you do tomorrow to try to get you on the best path.

One may nor may not agree with how Cunliffe positions himself and Key – one short-term and the other strategic. But let’s assume they’re correct.

Key is a chief executive type Prime Minister. He certainly does have a direction he pushes the country in, but his focus is in dealing with the multitude of problems that arise every week and month, and finding solutions to them. And to a degree, a lot of government is about trying to fix problems.

Cunliffe says he would be more focused on a strategy for NZ as a whole. That could well be true. But I’m sceptical of how well a country reacts to a top down strategy.

The reality is we are a small player in the world, and much of what happens in NZ is the result of forces well beyond our control. Also a country is not a company. The PM can’t decide for every single business what they should be doing. Hundreds of thousands of business owners and managers will be making those decisions for their own companies.

Now a Government can come in and say we have a strategy for NZ. It can be the Greens saying we’ll invest billions into a global renewable energy industry. It can be Labour saying they want forestry and dairy to sell more high value products than raw products.

But are Governments the best people to decide? We sell what people are willing to buy off us. I have a fair degree of faith that if there was money to be made in selling windfarm technology to the world, or finished wood products, rather than logs, then there would be dozens of Kiwi companies doing just that.

So as someone sceptical of the power of Government, I don’t see it as a bad thing to have a Prime Minister who isn’t trying to force his strategic vision on NZ businesses – but instead focus on removing roadblocks as they emerge.

If people really convinced they have the right strategy for NZ businesses, then I’d rather they go and set one up themselves, rather than try to impose a strategy on other businesses.

Also Rodney Hide points out a key ingredient of being a trader:

 

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Domestic violence is not exclusively a male problem

July 8th, 2014 at 7:00 am by David Farrar

There is a very interesting longitudinal study of families done by Otago University on the issue of domestic violence.

I should preface these extracts by saying that when it comes to the most severe forms of domestic violence – being killed or maimed by your partner or ex-partner, its is clear that this happens to women, by men, far more often. But what does the Otago study find for overall domestic violence:

In addition, victimization and perpetration reports were highly correlated (r = .81). This reflects the fact that, in most instances, respondents reported mutual IPV, with 90% of those reporting IPV victimization reporting IPV perpetration, and 94% of those reporting IPV perpetration reporting IPV victimization.

There were no significant differences between males and females in terms of reported IPV victimization. The mean victimization score for females was 2.12 (SD = 2.91) compared to the mean of 2.28 (SD = 2.71) for males (p > .40). However, there was a significant difference between males and females in terms of reported IPV perpetration, such that females reported higher levels of IPV perpetration. The mean perpetration score for females was 2.15 (SD = 2.26), compared to a mean of 1.66 (SD = 2.04) for males (p < .01).

That’s what you call an inconvenient fact.

In terms of the CTS victimization subscale measures, 11.3% of males and 7.3% of females reported being exposed to minor physical assault; 7.7% of males and 3.4% of females reported severe physical assault; 65.7% of males and 66.1% of females reported minor psychological aggression; and 15.4% of males and 9.2% of females reported severe psychological aggression. For the CTS perpetration subscale measures, 6.7% of males and 5.5% of females reported committing minor physical assault; 2.8% of males and 3.2% of females reported severe physical assault; 56.7% of males and 68.7% of females reported minor psychological
aggression; and 6.9% of males and 9.2% of females reported severe psychological aggression.

So males are more likely to suffer a severe physical assault.

Now the reality is that most men and stronger than most women, and the impact of a serious physical assault can be both physically and psychologically more damaging, even terrifying for a woman. So this paper doesn’t minimise the horrendous impact on women, of serious assaults. It just establishes that domestic violence is far from exclusively something men do to women – in fact 90% of those who get victimised by domestic violence, also perpetrate it, according to this study. Now that is not 100%, and many people suffer domestic violence, who never ever engage in it itself. But the study shows they are the exception,  not the rule.

The report authors conclude:

All research into IPV is conducted against the backdrop of what Dutton (Dutton, 1994; Dutton & Nicholls, 2005) has described as “the feminist paradigm” (p. 682). This model, which dominates public discourse about domestic violence, views violence through a gendered lens that centers around the assumptions that: (a) most domestic violence involves male perpetrators and female victims; (b) female violence is defensive and reactive; and (c) the causes of domestic violence reflect the values of patriarchal social structures in which violence is used to control women and limit their opportunities (e.g. Bograd, 1988; Dobash & Dobash, 1979; Dobash, Dobash, Wilson, & Daly, 1992; Johnson, 1995).

While this model has been highly influential in setting the directions of domestic violence policy, it is almost completely discrepant with the findings of this and a growing number of studies.

They point out:

While population survey data have tended to suggest an absence of gender differences, official data tend to suggest a predominance of male perpetrators and female victims. Reconciling these differences is central to a balanced understanding of the issues of IPV. The most straightforward resolution of the evidence is to suggest that, while males and females appear to be equally predisposed to domestic violence, because of greater male strength and capacity for aggression, males predominate in the more extreme cases of IPV represented in officially recorded statistics

None of the above should take away from the reality that too many men do commit domestic violence, and as a society we should make domestic violence as socially unacceptable as drink driving now is. That is what David Cunliffe very clumsily was trying to say a couple of days ago.

But apologising for being a man, was both stupid (you apologise for what you do, not for what you are), but also missing the wider picture of domestic violence.

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Cunliffe on the Dotcom Party

July 6th, 2014 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

From the interview on The Nation:

If Internet-Mana get there and you need their numbers will you use them to form a government or will you rule them out?

We’re not doing any pre-election deals with anybody.

I’m talking about a post-election deal. Will you work them in government? Voters want to know.

I’ve been quite frank with we will have our door and phone line open to whoever wants to change the government. I’ve ruled out the Conservatives, I’ve ruled out the Act party, I’m not ruling out talking to anyone else but frankly I’d be surprised to see anybody, perhaps other than the Greens and NZ First around the cabinet table.

You’re not ruling it out thought, you’re not ruling out Internet-Mana because I want to pick up on this, Phil Goff, one of your senior MPs, says that Internet-Mana deal is a rort and Dotcom is buying influence. Chris Hipkins calls them unprincipled sell-outs. These are your MPs. David Shearer says Internet-Mana is going to end badly. Stuart Nash calls him a discredited German. Yet you won’t rule out

I’m not here to defend Kim Dotcom or Internet-Mana. What I am here to do is to campaign for the Labour vote and to change the government.

It is very clear that Cunliffe is not willing to rule out Cabinet posts to the Dotcom Party, despite the views of his colleagues.

Now does that mean that Laila Harre and Hone Harawira could be ministers in a Labour led government or will you rule that out?

No, it does not.

Will you rule that out?

I think that’s extremely unlikely.

Extremely unlikely they’ll be ministers?

Extremely unlikely.

If anyone thinks Hone Harawira will happily sit on the backbenches, they don’t know him very well. He will demand to be Maori Affairs Minister, at a minimum.

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Herald on Cunliffe

July 5th, 2014 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

One of the good things the NZ Herald does every three years is an extensive background piece on the Leader of the Opposition, and hence potential next Prime Minister. These stories take months to compile, but they are very useful at painting a picture of the person who may be the country’s next leader.

Their lengthy piece on David Cunliffe is here. It’s very interesting, and I especially like the section on him and Karen.

I am of the view that most MPs are in politics for the right reasons – because they sincerely think they can make NZ a better place. Around 10% to 15% are ratbags. The rest, one may disagree with their views and policies – but they are well motivated. I include David Cunliffe in this category.

While iPredict says he has only a 16% chance of becoming Prime Minister, a lot can happen in 77 days.

Here’s an extract from the article:

He met Karen Price, a law and music student, in the first week of the university year. Within six months they were engaged, a year later they were married; the bride was 19, the groom 21. They met at the “Knox [hostel] Hop” during orientation week. Her friend and his roommate went as a date and they tagged along as chaperones.

“I thought he was pretty dishy,” says Price. “He was tall, countryboyish with a long blond afro and a washboard stomach. I thought he was very attractive.”

Cunliffe: “We became part of a peer group that all got to know each other. I think we ended up going out four or five months later. We had some classes together; we were in the legal systems tutorial of Mark Heneghan, Dean of Law now. I think it’s fair to say the other kids didn’t get a word in edge ways.”

Prof Heneghan noticed: “It was nice to see them moving closer to each other and the little glances back and forwards,” he recalled in a 2013 interview. “They were pretty keen on each other right from day one. They were the strongest arguers against each other.”

Cunliffe talks first about her smarts (and his) when asked what appealed. “She was an outstanding student, [there was] a huge intellectual connection, very much a match of equals.” Prompted, he adds: “A lot of attraction as well, dashing Scandinavian good-looks on her part.

Very cool.

In April, she attended his 20th birthday “as a guest, not an item”, and in April he proposed. When he decides something, he moves fast, she says.

That’s very fast. From dating to engagement in less than a month, but sounds like they had been moving towards each other for most of the year.

The Herald also has 10 things you may not know about him:

  1. He played Jesus in the school play.
  2. His “little” brother, Stephen, is 6’7″ and an expert on the Patagonian toothfish.
  3. He has a half-brother and three half-sisters.
  4. His great-grandfather married King Dick Seddon’s sister.
  5. He helped his half-brother, Bill, through a life crisis.
  6. He scared the pants off Michael Laws when they were at Uni together.
  7. He caught a salmon in memory of his father at the spot on the Rangitata River where he died of a heart attack.
  8. He was voted most likely to be a world leader by fellow scholarship students at Atlantic College in Wales.
  9. His father, a vicar, remarried eight months after the death of his first wife.
  10. The William Cunliffe who died in the Brunner mine disaster of 1896 may be a relative.

There’s a follow up next weekend focusing more on his life since becoming an MP.

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