Shearer on Labour

Michele Hewitson in the Listener interviews David Shearer:

Somebody tweeted: “After seven years in the Party, was looking for a safe, stable workplace, and he’s found that in South Sudan.” Is that funny? I ask him. If bleakly.

“Ha, ha. Yeah. It’s that old apocryphal story attributed to lots of politicians asked what it’s like standing across from the enemy. And the answer is: ‘That’s not the enemy. That’s the opposition. The enemy’s behind me.’ And, yeah, that’s what it felt like in many ways.”

Never given a chance.

The man ban really was the stuff of the loony bin. It proposed that some ­electorates allow only women candidates and received what ought to have been a predictable response. Shearer was against it and “that got me offside with some of the women in our party. I was receiving hundreds of letters about that policy and probably 95 out of 100 were totally against the man ban.”

The proposed policy also got him offside with his wife. “I remember walking in here and Nush was standing there and she said, ‘What the f— did you do that for? Don’t you think that I’ve got the ability to stand up against men? Who do you think you are? You guys.’ She was furious.”

They don’t have the man ban in place for electorates but effectively do for the party list. They have to rank the list so the caucus is 50/50.

They are likely to have six more electorate MPs who are male than female so the first six (after Little) on the list must be female.

He is off to head a peacekeeping outfit when he couldn’t keep the peace in his own party. Is that ironic? “Yeah,” he agrees, hardly sourly at all. Perhaps he wasn’t tough enough. “Umm. ­Possibly. Probably because I wasn’t perceived as being left enough; as too much of a centrist.”

No room for Shearer (or Jones) in a party heading more and more to the hard left.

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