Cunliffe could strike again
Wed, 21 Nov 2012 5:24a.m.
By Peter Wilson, NZN Political Writer
Labour leader David Shearer has won a unanimous vote of confidence from his MPs but the strife caused by his rival David Cunliffe could resurface in February.
Mr Shearer on Tuesday stripped Mr Cunliffe of his portfolios and banished him to the back bench bench for refusing to endorse his leadership and persistently undermining his position.
Mr Cunliffe's backers, thought to number fewer than 10 in the 34-member caucus, didn't show their hand and there were no dissenters when the confidence vote was taken.
The demoted MP said before the meeting he would vote for Mr Shearer, but his loyalty didn't extend to the next leadership review which party rules say must take place in February.
Some MPs questioned ahead of the meeting also refused to commit themselves to Mr Shearer next year, which has opened speculation Mr Cunliffe will use the summer recess to regroup and challenge in February.
He stood against Mr Shearer and lost when the leadership changed in December 2011, but caucus divisions have festered ever since.
To trigger a leadership vote in February Mr Cunliffe will have to muster 40 percent of the caucus votes - 14 MPs including himself - and that seems unlikely after Tuesday's show of support for Mr Shearer.
But if he is successful, the leadership vote will be held under new rules which give members and affiliated unions a say - sections of the party where Mr Cunliffe has more support than he does in caucus.
Mr Cunliffe avoided media when he left the meeting and on Tuesday night had still not reacted to his punishment or revealed his intentions.
He was Labour's fifth-ranked MP, holding the important economic development and associate finance portfolios.
Mr Shearer will name a replacement within a few days.
KEY WELCOMES LABOUR'S LEADERSHIP WOES
Labour's move to keep Shearer as leader is good news to Prime Minister John Key.
Mr Key, who is in Cambodia for the East Asia Summit, told media the debacle was a blow for the already floundering Labour Party.
"They are in a war which has now broken out into the public domain," he said.
"They fundamentally do not like each other, they fundamentally do not trust each other and this is only round one of a 14-round bout."
Mr Key added that uncertainty over Mr Shearer's leadership is "a long way from being over" and doubts that his rival - who has been relatively weak in the debating chamber - will still be Labour leader at the 2014 election, saying he "wouldn't bet the ranch on it".
Mr Key says the debacle means the public will see Labour as less stable than National.
"My caucus is unified behind me, we have solid coalition partners and we have a plan for New Zealand. They can't even organise a conference."
It was not yet clear if any of Mr Cunliffe's supporters within caucus would be sanctioned.
NZN / 3 News
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21/11/2012 11:00:16 p.m.
Labour need to stop all this BS and looking at being an opposition party or more of their loyal support will walk.
They will not win nothing until they pick up their act and get back to the grass root voters out there.All they've suceeded in doing is play to Nationals backers plans,albeit they've probably benefitted more from John keys tax cuts than Joe average on the street,so why would they want to win?Shearer and Cunliffe are laughing all the way to the bank while many kiwis struggle to feed their families and thats a fact!
21/11/2012 10:25:17 p.m.
Key will never be ousted now Mr Shearer appears weak In these hard times a leader needs to appear strong and Mr Cunliffe has all the right attributes to beat Key The polls will soon show Labours lose of support as we head toward the next election Iam only one vote they have now lost but listening to others Iam far from alone
21/11/2012 6:29:32 p.m.
Love to hear you moronic socialist lefties squeal. Labour is deeply divided, Shearer really is useless - listen to his press conference yesterday, he was truly pathetic - uuming all the way thru and he was basically uninteligable. The man cannot communicate. He can't even organise or control a conference !! Remember Key is at 50 % popularity and Shearer at 10% - there is a reason for that. Deep divisions within Labour will remain for a long time Labour are a joke. I love it when Labour self destructs - just brilliant.
21/11/2012 5:46:38 p.m.
Its great to see labour self destruct - it's easy to see why the pathetic Shearer is at 10% popularity while Key is at 50 %. The man can't even communicate never mind lead.
21/11/2012 5:19:39 p.m.
Always amusing how you sad labour minority always feel the need for a dig at Key, who is hands down the most prefered leader of the country. When your own squalid little party are fighting each other. You should be more worried about the Greens, they will soon be the second most prominent party in the country.
21/11/2012 5:17:32 p.m.
What a joke Labour is - deep division's have again emerged today and they are not going away. This is a battle of deep seated ideologies and egos. Shearer at yesterday press conference was a disgrace - he bumbled his way thru and he uumed.. and aared.. continously. Shearer came across as weak and ineffectual - even his loyal MP's will be thinking 'have we really endorsed this guy' ? Cunliff's New Lynn electorate is up in arms and is laying a a complaint over Cunliff's treatment. The rank and file will be even more emboldened by Shearer's pathetic presentation yesterday.
Key is right they can't even organize a conference - run a country ? ha ! Shearer can't even control his own party - how can he run a coalition of the Greens, Peters, Mana, the Maori Party etc. Again Labour are a joke.
Labour currently is deeply divided, rotten, cancerous and it needs removing from the political scene.
21/11/2012 4:15:22 p.m.
i hope cunliffe is doing this on his own time ,how much time is wasted on the infighting,while they still draw there wages which we pay for?
21/11/2012 4:08:54 p.m.
21/11/2012 3:12:04 p.m.
I like Shearer better than Cunnliffe, but will probably be voting for NZ First or the Greens
21/11/2012 2:55:37 p.m.
Unfortunately Cunliffe has always been disloyal and is only there for self promotion. If he was loyal he would have tried to get Shearer into power and then later on made a challenge for leadership. He has now stabbed Goff and Shearer in the back which goes to show how devious and untrustworthy he is. Look at his backers, the dregs and hangers on of the party.
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