Sunday, October 12, 2014


This is a follow-up to my previous post on the state of the Labour Party. Like it or lump it ... in this day and age the Party leader defines the Party.   Get it right and you're on a winner.   Get in wrong and you're forever pushing s**t up hill.    Labour saw that with Goff and Shearer.   Is history about to repeat itself?     Lets look at the contenders .... in no great order.

David Cunliffe ... more popular in the Party than in caucus where he was actively undermined by the ABCs led by Cosgrove.    Nakedly ambitious and arrogant to boot and comes across as such.   Held his own (mostly) against John Key in an under-resourced election campaign but screwed up big time in his election night 'concession' speech and in the days following where he refused to acknowledge his own failings. Not helped by his wife's foray into the media spotlight.   The ABC's haven't gone away and have probably grown stronger.   I suspect his stature in the wider Party has also suffered a blow.   Cunliffe re-elected and there is every chance the Labour Party could split.

Grant Robertson ... the ultimate 'beltway' politician.   Solid performer in the House but struggles to achieve 'cut-through' outside.   Limited real-life experience (public-servant and political apparatchik). Instinct is 'left' and that's a problem for a Party that needs to position in the centre-left.  But above all, and perhaps unfairly, Robertson's overt homosexuality is perhaps a bridge too far even in this day and age and particularly for Labour's diminishing blue-collar constituency.    Outside chance.

Andrew Little ... solid Union credentials in a Party where Unions matter and in a country where they don't.   On the day charisma was handed out Little was off sick.    Not helped by two disastrous campaigns in New Plymouth which saw National increase both their Party and Electorate vote.   Campaigning on reversing some of Labour's key policies.    Puts him at odds with Parker but could work to his advantage.    Has to be in with a chance.

David Parker ...  just declared.   Loyal deputy to Cunliffe until 'he' dumped on him.    Doyen of the policy wonks with charisma to match.    Some policies failed intense scrutiny.   It will be interesting to see him and Little match off.   One term Electorate MP (Otago 2002-2005) and since then has carpetbagged around NZL as a List MP.    Some issues with his personal life.     Probably more suited to the deputy role than leader.   Outside chance.

David Shearer ... can a souffle rise twice?    An inherently decent man not overtly suited to the rough and tumble of parliamentary life and especially Leader of the Opposition.    Not sure he would want to put himself or his family through the washing machine again.    Compromise and interim leader perhaps but who would want that?

Someone Else ... based on the above SE has to be in with a real chance (but he/she has only 48 hours to make up their mind).    None of the main players (Robertson/Little/Parker) are likely to do anything that will excite the electorate.   It is a truism that Oppositions seldom win elections ... Governments, long term Governments especially, loose them.    As it stands right now, all that those three can hope for is is latter (six years out perhaps).    The right 'Someone Else' (Nash/Davis/Hipkins) and it might be a different story.

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