I’m going to keep this short and sweet: Labour has fallen apart and it ain’t over yet.
The party is proving to voters why they got just 24.6 percent; it proves they would never have been able to govern. They are tearing themselves apart. They look like narcissists. This is civilian war. This is a fight for control of the party.
Annette King once told me there were no factions in the Labour Party – they were just social groupings, she said. I’m sorry that’s bull-dust. These factions are alive and well and have been since the 1980s. It’s publicly tearing Labour apart and I imagine voters are completely turned off.
It would be very interesting if a media outlet did a poll in the next few weeks.
The ABC club never died when Cunliffe became leader – they just retired to the corner and got more bitter and twisted. It’s no secret who they are: Trevor Mallard is the life president, Clayton Cosgrove, chief plotter, David Shearer, general-secretary, Stuart Nash, head of communications, Annette King, camp mother, Grant Robertson the uncle, Phil Goff, kaumatua, and the errant ABC kids are Jacinda Ardern, Chris Hipkins and Kris Faafoi.
I think you could add the two Dunedin MPs to it as new recruits.
Labour has been heading this way for some time. The powder keg has blown. Cunliffe does not have the support of his caucus. They do not want him; neither do Kiwi voters.
He should have seen all this last week and gone quietly for the good of the party, and the cause, but he has chosen to hit the nuclear option. It is his own personal revenge at the ABCers. It’s breathtakingly arrogant. Which part of election spanking does he not understand?
Labour talks about renewal, but it’s stuck with 1980s politicians pulling the strings. They don’t even look like a viable opposition, let alone a party ready to govern.
Just imagine if National had got 2% less and Hone kept his seat, and we had a Labour-Greens-NZ First-Mana Government. It would be chaotic beyond belief.
Camp Cunliffe is really hitting the beltway nerve – that Team Robertson can’t be trusted, portraying Mr Robertson as a disloyal deputy who rolled David Shearer.
Although Mr Cunliffe is not prepared to put his name to it.
But that’s not what his press secretary and cousin Simon Cunliffe told 3 News.
In an email he said: “Shearer’s decision to quit followed a caucus numbers push – led by a Robertson follower.”
So Cunliffe’s office actually e-mailed a journalist blaming Shearer’s fall on Robertson.
There is some truth to it though. My understand is that Shearer blames Cunliffe for undermining him, but Robertson for rolling him – hence why he might still stand.
You’ve probably heard about this year’s election being Labour’s worst showing in 92 years. In fact, the result was even worse.
In 1922, Labour received 23.7 per cent of all votes cast. This year it received 24.69 per cent of the party vote. However, the latter is not the better of the two.
Ninety-two years ago, New Zealanders voted using first past the post. There was no “party vote” to give a neat measurement of relative party support. The overall voting percentages simply reflect the number of candidate votes counted over all of the then 80 electorates.
In 1922, Labour fielded just 41 candidates, meaning only about half of New Zealanders could vote for a Labour candidate that year.
The seats Labour did not stand in were probably those least favourable to it. Nevertheless, had the party contested every electorate (or were MMP in place back then) we can be fairly sure it would have outperformed its 2014 result.
The same reasoning applies to Labour’s first election three years earlier in 1919. Then it received 24.2 per cent of votes cast despite not standing candidates in a significant number of electorates. Taking this into account, it seems the Labour Party has never had weaker voter appeal than it does today.
A useful analysis. This is a record low.
In 2011, Canada’s Liberals – long the country’s dominant political party – received just 18.91 per cent of the popular vote. Beaten into third place, the party had to relinquish its position as the official opposition. Nevertheless, under the leadership of Justin Trudeau, the party has moved back into first place in the polls.
If only Helen Clark had a daughter!
Or what is Roy Lange up to?
And, of course, there was National’s 2002 catastrophe. It is hard to believe that the party now straddling the political centre like the Colossus of Rhodes received just 20.93 per cent of the vote that year. How has it managed to claw back its status as the natural party of government?
First, National eliminated its competition on the Right. Under Don Brash, National gobbled up almost the whole conservative vote, reducing ACT and UnitedFuture to the lifeless husks they are today. NZ First also barely survived this process as about half of its traditionalist voters defected back to National.
While that restored National’s formidability, the 2005 election proved that it wasn’t quite enough to carve out a workable majority. It then fell to the pragmatic and non-ideological John Key to seize back the centre ground. His ability to do this – bringing both conservative and centrist voters with him – has proved essential to his success as a popular leader.
National needed Brash and Key in that order. Brash to consolidate the right vote and then Key to win the centre vote.
It is a suggestion likely made in vain. But the time has surely arrived for those with standing and influence in the Labour Party to break their silence and somehow persuade David Cunliffe that his gambit for winning back the party’s leadership is simply not a starter.
I suggested some time ago that the only person who could save Labour from itself is Helen Clark, if she told Cunliffe to withdraw.
The crux of the matter is that if Cunliffe were to win the party-wide ballot, he would not have the confidence of the caucus members ranked second and third, David Parker and Grant Robertson, never mind the remainder of the parliamentary wing.
He has at most 20% to 30% support in caucus.
The Labour Party has become a laughing stock. But the party’s current circumstances are no joke.
The only viable way forward is that whoever becomes leader has to purge the caucus of the other faction. Otherwise it won’t be credible to the public that they can be a unified party which can govern a country.