Duncan Garner writes at Radio Live:
Labour Leader David Cunliffe’s apology for setting up a trust for his campaign donations baffles me. I can see why he’s done it. He wants the issue to go away. But it leaves just so many unanswered questions.
The big question for me is, who are the other donors? Is Kim Dotcom one? Or is it another fancy, wealthy businessman who is embarrassed to be linked to him? If not, who are the other two and why can’t we know?
They must be very embarrassing to demand their donations back rather than be named.
Cunliffe has only apologised to lance the boil; he’s only done it because he’s been caught red-handed and embarrassed. So, who is the real David Cunliffe? And why did he set up the trust in the first place?
Trusts are set up to either hide something, protect something or to give people and donors anonymity. In politics, that always draws attention. What on earth was Cunliffe thinking when he agreed for the trust to be set-up? This trust wasn’t set-up without his knowledge. He gave it the nod. Nothing happens in an MP’s life without their say-so.
As I said his apology is more than odd. He said: “I don’t think in hindsight that a trust structure fully represented the values I would like to bring to this leadership”. That is weird and simply doesn’t stack up. It looks like a fake apology to me. I actually don’t believe him.
Values don’t just appear issue by issue. Values and principles are things that guide you in your everyday life. Surely Cunliffe would have known by now if having a ‘trust’ represented his values. And a trust structure completely represents who David Cunliffe is. ..
David Cunliffe is a former high-flying business consultant – his wife is a top lawyer – they know how these things work. His friends are business people. His wife knew about it and kept all this secret. How on earth did she think they were going to get away with this approach? Their collective judgement on this is woeful.
Where was he when Labour rallied against National’s use of trusts to fund its many elections campaigns? It’s why Labour changed the law and brought in the Electoral Finance Law. Was he not in the Parliament at the time? No, he was there. Did he speak up against National’s use of secret trusts? Oh yes he did.
Labour politicians of all shapes and sizes criticised National for months for receiving secret money. Cunliffe was in there, boots-’n'-all. Trevor Mallard went further and claimed there was a ‘secret American bag-man.’ It was never proved.
I’ll never forget Labour climbing into National over electoral finances. Now Cunliffe looks like a complete hypocrite despite the apology. National has every right to pile into him on this. Just like Labour piled into National over secret trusts and campaign donations.
I’m starting to wonder just who Cunliffe is. What does he stand for? Is he anti-business or pro-business? Does he care about the poor? Or hang out with the rich? My big question really is this: Who is the real David Cunliffe?
Is he a fake?
A reasonable question.
John Armstrong also writes:
You could almost hear the “told you so” refrain that is never far away from the lips of David Cunliffe’s many detractors.
Those within the Labour Party who warned that electing him as leader would be a mistake may well feel vindicated. But they will take cold comfort from that.
You do wonder if there is the odd Labour Party activist who is now sitting back an saying ‘Hey maybe the MPs in my caucus are not a total bunch of idiots after all, and we should have listened to them”
That he cannot seem to stop his fingers hovering over the self-destruct button is no surprise to anyone who has watched him for any length of time. It is a great mystery why someone overly blessed with essential political attributes gets it wrong with such frequency.
Maybe it is overconfidence. Maybe it is an inability to see the line between being bold and being foolhardy. He got away with it when he held lower ranked positions in the Labour caucus. The role of Leader of the Opposition offers no escape from the spotlight.
This latest piece of bungling follows other gaffes this year including being badly caught out as to how many parents would actually qualify for Labour’s promise of a $60-a-week “baby bonus”.
Then there was the odd decision to ping John Key for residing in a “leafy suburb” when Cunliffe does likewise. On Saturday, he admitted on TV3′s The Nation that he had not made the best choice of words on that occasion.
That makes it two mea culpas in four days – not a pretty strike rate. It is one that could see Cunliffe being indelibly labelled as accident-prone; that everything he touches ends up backfiring on him and Labour’s less-than-solid poll ratings.
For my 2c I think it is over-confidence.
And finally people may enjoy a 30 second musical compilation from Newstalk ZB’s Laura McQuillan called “Tricky”
Tags: David Cunliffe, Duncan Garner, John Amstrong, Laura McQuillan