Shearer denies leadership shakeup
Sat, 17 Nov 2012 6:00p.m.
By Patrick Gower
David Shearer's leadership of the Labour Party is under threat from his rival David Cunliffe.
The challenge emerged today at the Labour Party conference on the eve of what was meant to be a major speech for Mr Shearer.
Mr Cunliffe is putting his hand up, refusing to rule out a challenge to Mr Shearer when the Labour leadership comes up for grabs in February.
“This is a constitutional conference, not a leadership conference,” says Mr Cunliffe. “That is not a matter at hand in this meeting.”
The Labour Party faithful voted today to change the way the leadership is decided. In the past it's needed a majority of MPs. Now if 40 percent of MPs, a minority, want a change, that will trigger a leadership contest.
The minority trigger was opposed by some of Labour's senior MPs as a recipe for instability.
“Let’s name what some people are concerned about here, and it is contemporary anxiety about leadership,” says Labour MP Andrew Little.
And yes, that was an admission – Mr Shearer's leadership is being openly questioned.
“[I have] got to acknowledge that's how some people are feeling,” says Mr Little. “But that's not a reason to put in a rule change that will cause instability.”
But the trigger got voted in. It makes Mr Cunliffe's job a lot easier.
He now only needs 14 MPs of Labour's 34 on his side to trigger a contest.
So while Mr Shearer deliberately didn't take part in the vote, citing a conflict of interests, Mr Cunliffe was front and centre. He made sure he voted for the system that favoured him.
And it was oh so close – 264 votes to 237.
And within seconds, Mr Cunliffe was refusing to rule out what is effectively a leadership challenge when the first chance comes up automatically in February.
All he says is “that's not a matter for this conference”.
As of today the leader will be decided by this formula: who the MPs want counts for 40 percent, who the party members want, 40 percent, and who the unions want, 20 percent.
This new formula is also believed to favour Mr Cunliffe, so the pressure on Mr Shearer from Mr Cunliffe is now incredibly intense.
“I am confident I will be leader in 2014,” says Mr Shearer. “Read my lips. Come February, come 2014, I will be leader. Nothing is going to change.”
Mr Shearer is left refusing to say how he will deal with Mr Cunliffe for his disloyalty, and facing the reality that it may yet be Mr Cunliffe who deals to him.
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18/11/2012 3:22:31 p.m.
David Shearer did a good job apart from whatever kept him under pressures.
Whats up Mr. Gunliffe' I thought you MP'S are on the same side and not stand alone, sort it out cowboys.
Pita Sharple and Turia will stand in as a new Prime Minister while the Labour Party come to terms with themselves. Bare in mind that the people in this country are already under pressures and are fetch up with all National Government mishaps since he was elected.
18/11/2012 2:34:29 p.m.
Thats how bad a leader he really is. He can't see cuntliffes writing on the wall ?
18/11/2012 1:44:21 p.m.
Ridiculous, this constant bickering/back stabbing is costing the tax payer millions every year. just to keep these people in power even when they dont do anything,apart from backstabbing each other.
18/11/2012 11:58:51 a.m.
For 30yrs the labour party has been hi-jacked by right wingers determined to get their own way,roger douglas for one.If everyone just took a breath and had a look on the net about the significant changes labour has made they will find they are more democratic than any political parties in nz except the greens.What is wrong with the members having a say instead of politicians using labour for their own selfish purposes.The media are beating up the fight between shearer and cunlife,also they dont focus on the REAL changes they have made inside the conference.It should be clear to all that Shearer is not up to the job and that he is in the wrong party,he is a right wing politician,he is more akin to national,thats why he kept quiet when there should have been serious questions asked about key and national,his track record speaks for itself,labour members have the guts to make changes and take the party back,roll on 2014.
18/11/2012 7:04:54 a.m.
Yes leadership has been returned to the members. And yes Shearer does not command throughout the Labourv Party.
There will be a night of the long knives, a cleaning of the Augean stables sometime around St Valantines day!
People get the kind of government they deserve.
Look foe witches and Jews, you'll find them! Surprise, surprise look for messiahs and vanity will throw them up.
Issues, policies and principles!
18/11/2012 6:59:35 a.m.
I cant see what the media frenzy is all about. Leaderships come and go. It happens. A party conference and apparrently someoones gotta challenge the leadership. Media hype to sell stories. I personally hope Cunnliffe does so we can see some real politics instead of this mambi pambi stuff but obviously not at present as he says. I would prefer to see a story on why Jk has not stepped into the Novapay rubbish and why has it not been sorted after nearly 4 months, or the acc not doing what its set up to do at huge excessive proffit whilst our injured are thrown onto benefits or the MSD privacy breaches. Why are our journos trying to spark up a lie on this instead of doing there job on others? I am sick of the sensational headlines and no substance storys that fail to deliver followups. Come on journos stop letting these storys go and follow through. What has happened to the kiosk privacy breaches? Are they still down? Are families looking for work unable to use these in the lead up to xmas? Theres plenty of real storys without making them up.
18/11/2012 12:13:48 a.m.
Shearer needs to take a stand and sack Cunliffe. Effective immediately.
17/11/2012 11:31:23 p.m.
Shearer is a nice man as Key confirmed but certainly not Prime Ministerial material - Labour get real and face this problem, Cunliffe has a rough edge and would be more aggresive as Opposition Leader -
17/11/2012 11:03:30 p.m.
lets be honest shearer is just too nice and he is definitely not a threat to John Key, just like Phil. Labour needs Cunliffe if they wanna compete against John Key and his National party out.
17/11/2012 10:51:08 p.m.
Shearer is just another UN Globalist Like Key and Helen, Goff was a real kiwi but those psychopaths in labour who want to run every part of your lives need to go away and die.
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