Garner tackles Labour’s leadership vacuum

A startling and provocative piece of analysis has emerged from Duncan Garner, entitled “Has Labour got the wrong guy”? Currently offline at Wellington magazine Fishhead, politicos around the country will be cursing its lack of online viewing. So I’ve pulled out the standout sections for those unable to access a local copy until that time that it goes online (or you can locate a copy to purchase!):

Garner: Labour has emerged dazed and confused from its winter of discontent….and much of that confusion rests on the decision it took a year ago to promot newbie MP David Shearer as its leader.

I want this on the record. Shearer is a hell of a nice guy…Labour picked him to be like John Key. But he can’t out-Key Key…The public doesn’t know what he stands for or against. He struggles to articulate himself….and in my opinion he’s largely botched his honeymoon….It’s become clear too that Shearer divides not only Labour’s caucus, but its membership too. He’s neither steeped inLabour Party knowldge or history.

I recently wrote a piece on our 3News.co.nz website about why Labour MPs didn’t like his challenger, MP David Cunliffe. It caused a stink. It’s…clear that Cunliffe has more support that I initially gave him credit for…There is real pressure from the Labour Party backstreets for change…The wider good of the Labour party needs to be put first. If Shearer can’t get his numbers up by late this year, Cunliffe may indeed put his name forward, again. And he should.

Labour needs to take it to Key in 2013 and 2014, and Shearer hasn’t really kicked in. How would Cunliffe be any different? Substantially I think. He’s enormously articulate and can present an alternative vision. But there’s an element of fear within the caucus. A number of the more mature MPs fear Cunliffe will demote them and it will be the end of their careers. That’s why he is bad-mouthed so often. Some of those MPs need to go. Their time is up.

None of this should stop the caucus. .. The leadership of the party if too important for personal agenda to get in the way right now.

The other leadership options are either not ready or aren’t up to it: Grant Robertson: Ambitious? Yes. Ready? No. He’s best to bide his time. To be brutal, Key will wipe the floor with the Wellington Central MP. His time will come. But his immeditate elevation will not bring back the provinces. Jacinda Ardern: Way to early. Out of her depth as it is. David Parker: Get real. Andrew Little: Should put his name forward…

But all of this leaves Cunliffe as the obvious challenger – not that he’s openly looking for the job – but he’d do it in a heartbeat.

Well this will make for an interesting conference won’t it?

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