Labour staffing changes

September 16th, 2013 at 5:20 pm by David Farrar

3 News reports:

Grant Robertson “may or may not” stay deputy leader of Labour, while chief of staff Fran Mold has been cut, the party’s new leader David Cunliffe says.

Caucus will vote for a new deputy and new whips tomorrow morning.

At his first press conference at parliament since becoming leader on Sunday, Mr Cunliffe said he will make recommendations for all of the vacant positions.

He said the current whips, Chris Hipkins and Darien Fenton, also “may or may not” stay the same.

That’s despite Mr Hipkins and Ms Fenton – supporters of Mr Robertson – standing down from their roles on Monday.

Mr Cunliffe says Labour’s chief of staff, former TVNZ journalist-turned-press secretary Ms Mold, has lost her job, but he isn’t confirming her replacement.

He’s still considering other staffing, including press secretary positions.

I heard rumours of a former Cullen staffer being hired as Chief of Staff. We’ll find out soon. It sounds like there will be significant changes in their Leader’s Office.

Nash blames caucus and Mold for Shearer’s downfall

August 25th, 2013 at 3:00 pm by David Farrar

From The Nation today:

Rachel           Alright Mike we’ll come back to you a little later in the programme.  We’re going to go back now to Hastings where I think we have Stuart Nash, and I think he can hear us now?  You can I think.  Excellent.  Thank you for joining us there.  Can I put that to you actually as David Shearer’s former Chief of Staff.  Was it David Shearer who failed or did the team around him, the immediate team around him?  Did that team fail him?

 Stuart Nash – Former Labour MP

 Well I would say two things Rachel.  There were two things that went wrong.  First of all, you know your political history as well as I do, I cannot think of a party that won an election either in government or in opposition that had an openly dysunified caucus, and the second thing I think went wrong is the strategy was wrong in the Leader’s office.

Rachel           Okay so let’s start with the caucus.  What did the Labour caucus think of Shearer?

Stuart             Well they elected him.  When you elect a leader you stand behind that leader, you work very hard for that leader, and you make sure you give that leader the best possible opportunity to win an election.  Politics is about winning elections.  I personally think David would have been a very good Prime Minister, he’s a smart guy.  Look I don’t buy into the argument that he was too nice.  This was a bloke who lived in Mogadishu.  This was a bloke that led the UN in Iraq.  Mr Nice does not do those sorts of jobs.  This was a hard man.  He was a very good bloke, and like I said I think he would have been a very good Prime Minister given the opportunity.

Rachel           What was going on in the Leader’s office then?

Stuart             Well I firmly believe that if you want to be Prime Minister  you’ve gotta give every New Zealander the opportunity to have met you.  Now if you think about if you want to be President of the United States that person has to travel up and down the country and speak in nearly every little hamlet, town, city, right across America.  And it’s the same in New Zealand.  Helen Clark between 1996 and 1999 spent all her time just travelling up and down and right across New Zealand, speaking to every little Rotary Club, Lions Club, Workingmen’s Club, you know you name it Helen talked to it.  You’ve gotta have meetings with town halls that contain 10 people and contain a 100 people.  You’ve gotta give 10 speeches a week, and then you’ve gotta get up and you’ve gotta give another 10 the next week.  Every single year when you are in Opposition is election year.  There is now sort of hiatus, there’s no holiday, you’ve gotta start campaigning the day after the election.

Rachel           So they had the wrong strategy for him then do you think?

Stuart             They did.  I firmly believe that what David needed to do was – well do what Helen did.  Tuesday and Wednesday in parliament, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday, up and down the country speaking to New Zealanders.  Like I said if New Zealanders feel they’ve had the opportunity to meet you it doesn’t mean they’ve necessarily taken up that opportunity, but if they feel as if they have had that opportunity then they’re much more likely to vote for you.  And keep in mind if you come to a place like Hastings, or like Napier, the Leader of the Opposition turning up is still big news, you’re still gonna get your photo in the community daily, or the community weekly.

Rachel           So who do you blame for this failure?  Who do you blame for this failure in strategy?

Stuart             Well David had some staff around him that he listened to, that he took advice from.  The bottom line is, David has resigned as Leader of the Opposition because he felt as if he didn’t have the confidence of his caucus colleagues, and that basically is because the polls weren’t rising in a way that the caucus felt he should have.  So you know I think his chief strategists have actually got to put up their hand and say hey we got it wrong.

Rachel           Who?  Exactly who?

Stuart             Well I actually think Fran Mold needs to put up here hand and say look, maybe I didn’t do things as well as I could have in terms of media relations.  Alistair Cameron perhaps has to as Chief of Staff.  But Alistair’s a very good man and I’ve had a couple of conversations with Alistair, but you know the bottom line is David is the Leader, but I just think if he had spent all his time up and down the country, cos he is a good man, he’s a man of absolute integrity, he’s a man of fantastic values, and he could have been a good Prime Minister.  But what I’m talking about, this isn’t rocket science Rachel, this isn’t the first time this has been said.  This is what every leader in New Zealand and across the western world does if they want to be Prime Minister, President, you name it.  They get out and they meet the people, and they find out what the real issues are.

It will be very interesting to see what happens to both the caucus and the leader’s office if Robertson or Cunliffe wins. Robertson is close to most of the leader’s office staff so I suspect little change there if he wins. Cunliffe however could well bring in new people.

Likewise in the caucus, I see little change in the shadow cabinet except a promotion for Ardern is Robertson wins. Cunliffe however could well dispense with some of the old guard who have spent years briefing against him.

Shearer onto third chief of staff

July 24th, 2013 at 7:00 am by David Farrar

I blogged on 14 June:

Have heard from two separate sources that two very senior staff in ’s office are departing.

Have been wrong once before on this issue so not naming staff, but as I said have heard from two different people. No doubt will be confirmed one way or another this afternoon.

Labour denied that any of their staff were departing. However I had heard from (by the end of the day) three sources that Chief of Staff Alastair Cameron had agreed to depart, and Labour were searching for a successor. They denied that also.

Yesterday we learnt:

There are further changes in Labour leader David Shearer’s office after his chief of staff Alastair Cameron resigned to be replaced by his former chief press secretary Francesca Mold.

The change is effective immediately, Labour confirmed.

So it was correct.

What is interesting is that David Shearer has been leader for just 18 months and he is onto his third chief of staff. As a contrast John Key has been Leader of National for six and a half years and has had the same Chief of Staff throughout. In fact many of his office have been with him the whole time.

Two more Shearer staffers leave

April 27th, 2012 at 11:22 am by David Farrar

I understand that David Shearer’s Chief Press Secretary, has resigned her job and will be leaving the Labour Leader’s office in the near future.

Also Senior Advisor John Pagani’s contract terminated this week, and he no longer works for David Shearer.

Grant Robertson is almost going to run out of friends to fill these new vacancies 🙂

UPDATE: A reporter has tweeted A Labour media spokesperson says “as far as we’re aware Fran has not resigned”. She’s not answering phone calls.

My understanding is that Mold did resign by e-mail some time ago. This was before Nash left the office. However even after Nash’s departure was confirmed, she told other senior staff that she still intended to leave. Maybe she has been persuaded to change her mind. I have this from a very reliable source. I would suggest media ask specifically about any e-mails that include the word resignation or resign in them.

UPDATE2: A reporter has tweeted Mold denies she has resigned. Again I suggest people ask about whether or not she e-mailed her resignation or at least an offer of resignation in recent times. It is possible she has been persuaded to change her mind for now.

UPDATE3: A commenter has stated:

She resigned and announced it to colleagues some time ago. She has been talking about going off on an OE.

Maybe it has all changed now Nash is out of the way.

The commenter is someone with Labour Party connections, as is my original source. That is two independent people who have said Mold has or had resigned and more so announced it to some of her colleagues. Changing one’s mind (if it has changed) does not negate the fact it was announced originally.

Not a surprise outcome

September 18th, 2010 at 6:01 pm by David Farrar

It’s not exactly a surprise but congratulations to Kris Faafoi for winning Labour’s selection to be their candidate for Mana.

Kris will become the MP for Mana (Labour have never not held the seat). I look forward to his maiden speech.

Also congratulations to Fran Mold on her new job as a press secretary for Phil Goff.

UPDATE: A Labour Party member writes about what happened in the comments:

As a local party member I have seen some stitch ups in my time but this was a disgrace and once again the Mana Labour party is lumbered with an out of town drop in candidate.

We should be used to it by now I guess, but it really gets my goat. Almost the entire leaders office staff including the chief of staff and leaders secretary were there today, you had a group of staff including other press secretaries and advisors counting to floor votes and “checking” membership details. They even tried to stop one longtime member in her 70s from voting – she still has Michael Joseph Savage on her kitchen wall and these upstarts tried to say she wasnt Labour!

These Goff staffers brought with them affiliated union members to stack the votes in favour of Faafoi.

The whole thing was a set up and it was a race based selection. Well, Phil Goff has got the man he wanted but he has lost my support and the support of many others in the process.

Ouch, that is not a good look.

Mold quits TVNZ

August 30th, 2010 at 11:18 am by David Farrar

Fran Mold has today quit as Deputy Political Editor for TVNZ, according to well placed sources.

The reason is an agreement in principle that she will replace Kris Faafoi as Chief Press Secretary to Phil Goff.

However the timing of this is very is interesting. You see Labour have yet to have their “democratic” selection process. Yet the outcome seems certain enough that Fran has quit prior to the 18th of September when the selection is made. I guess, the head office delegates are not going to be listening to who makes the best speeches on the night.