Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Calling the race before it's over

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  • Rob Stowell, in reply to BlairMacca,

    I think you are missing something.

    What exactly?

    Whakaraupo • Since Nov 2006 • 1471 posts Report Reply

  • Rob Stowell,

    Or even vaguely :)
    I’m not sure I want to take sides. But the snide attacks on Cunliffe strike me as just as damaging to Labour as the leadership speculation.
    And blaming Cunliffe for all the speculation about Shearer’s leadership is weird.
    Shearer has had 11 months. I think most folks would give him a few more. But his performance to date has been unimpressive. That’s always going to lead to instability.
    Maybe Shearer can become an effective debater, take Key on in the house, and inspire the country on TV and radio. But he needs to turn it around pretty fast.
    I’d like to have seen Shearer hold out a hand after he won the leadership. Cunliffe as deputy-leader, for example. Keep your friends close, etc. Clark did something like this with Cullen, and that ended up working well. It’s a sign of confident leadership.
    Demoting Cunliffe will just look petty.

    Whakaraupo • Since Nov 2006 • 1471 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia, in reply to Russell Brown,

    I agree. facing a vote sooner rather than later is one thing, but planning to “discipline” Cunliffe is unhelpful.

    Then again, it’s not particularly helpful to be responding to your leader’s keynote conference speech (and a non-trivial policy announcement, incidentally) with “oh, the ideas were fine”. Gee, that wasn’t only half-arsed and half-hearted but too damn clever for his own good. I’m going to wear my flack jacket to bed for saying this, but it reminded me a lot of the good old days when Maurice Williamson could have been knifed on the conference floor and nobody would have seen nothing.

    Clark did something like this with Cullen, and that ended up working well. It’s a sign of confident leadership.

    Then again, whatever else you'd say against Cullen (and I've got a lot) I've never had anyone seriously suggest to me he is, or was, the kind of chap who got his political jollies playing Murder in the Dark.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 11869 posts Report Reply

  • DexterX, in reply to BlairMacca,

    Purrfect.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1186 posts Report Reply

  • DeepRed, in reply to Rob Stowell,

    Demoting Cunliffe will just look petty.

    Exactly. To demote Cunliffe would be a waste of his talent, especially if he ends up channeling John A Lee. Shearer & Cunliffe could do worse than to read the modern history books. And they don't seem ideologically apart as Lange & Douglas were.

    There was bitterness between the Helen Clark faction and the Mike Moore faction, which ramped up after Moore lost 1993 and Clark subsequently rolled him. They later buried the hatchet, with Moore being brought back as shadow Foreign Affairs minister until his departure for the WTO.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 4161 posts Report Reply

  • DexterX,

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1186 posts Report Reply

  • BlairMacca, in reply to Rob Stowell,

    Well to point it out, lying on a beach trying painfully to look casual is one thing. But sporting a legs open pose like that? Criminal

    Wellington • Since Apr 2007 • 200 posts Report Reply

  • Barnard, in reply to DexterX,

    A better view.

    Except there's nothing about how all this is going to appear to the general public.
    I suspect they might find it appears quite different.
    Not to mention that whilst not wishing for some kind of Blairite banality, 'taking their party back' won't mean much if all it achieves is keeping a hardcore happy and scraping for some of the Greens votes.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2012 • 72 posts Report Reply

  • BlairMacca, in reply to Lucy Telfar Barnard,

    I would just suggest, and try not to act like a 12 year old here, that staging a pose like that on a beach, and thinking this is a way to show you are 'relaxed', probably isn't going to appeal to the wider public. If anything it makes you look like a bit of a dick (oh god my 12 year old self comes out again)

    Wellington • Since Apr 2007 • 200 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Barnard,

    Except there's nothing about how all this is going to appear to the general public.

    Which is where their party's sustained weakness lies. Changing figureheads won't fix that lack of strategic and marketing nous.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16496 posts Report Reply

  • Sofie Bribiesca, in reply to BlairMacca,

    and thinking this is a way to show you are ‘relaxed’, probably isn’t going to appeal to the wider public. If anything it makes you look like a bit of a dick

    If perception is 9/10ths of the appeal , the beach image is not a "prospective serious Prime Minister" image leading all NZ out of depression.
    I found this article from Matt McCarten

    The original Ponsonby cafe interview venue was changed because the subject didn't want his potential blue collar supporters to think he was some latte-sipping w***** swanning around Auckland's liberal ghetto. The fact he lives a stone's throw from Ponsonby Rd (miles away from his New Lynn electorate) reveals more.

    Cunliffe's angst with his interviewer about where he should be photographed was plain narcissism. Not at the beach as he could be lampooned as if his career were drowning; not on a lawn or he could described as a snake in the grass.

    A satire scriptwriter high on cocaine couldn't make this stuff up.

    The point I'm making is that obsessing about managing superficiality in the media shouldn't be prioritised over character.

    in his weekend column illustrates this quite well.

    here and there. • Since Nov 2007 • 6027 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia, in reply to DexterX,

    A better view.

    And an interesting one, but here's the thing. Sorry, Chris, but most voters don't know - and care even less -- about taking the internal temperature of any political party. And they don't have to; like it or not, parties don't get to determine the criteria they're judged on. It's not pretty, perhaps it's not fair, but there you go and here we are.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 11869 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Barnard,

    Except there's nothing about how all this is going to appear to the general public.

    In two weeks, few will remember.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8319 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    Trotter's article did explain some of the internal historic context quite well. The party taking back overall policy position development from caucus is a major change that has gone largely unreported, and reflects some solid work behind the scenes.

    I guess boy on boy fights are a simpler angle in the absence of proactive comms management and a more interesting overall story.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16496 posts Report Reply

  • Barnard, in reply to Sacha,

    Which is where their party’s sustained weakness lies. Changing figureheads won’t fix that lack of strategic and marketing nous.

    There is that but I was thinking of something much simpler, that internally to members this might appear like a democratic revolution and regaining the party for the grass roots, but if you're one of the vast majority of the public who'll only see this via the msm you wouldn't come away with that view at all.

    Also, that Herald editorial. Sure, today isn't going to kill this off for good, but I've not seen a credible suggestion for how Shearer should be handling it. (And by credible, I mean something that doesn't start with 'There was no challenge')

    Wellington • Since Nov 2012 • 72 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Barnard,

    if you're one of the vast majority of the public who'll only see this via the msm you wouldn't come away with that view at all

    Multiple audiences, for sure. Best guide for public view is turn the TV sound down and see what story you're left with.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16496 posts Report Reply

  • Barnard, in reply to BenWilson,

    In two weeks, few will remember.

    But if the drip drip continues, that becomes the narrative the public hears. Anything else is pushed to the background, as the you know what stories the press will run.

    Having lived through the Blair/Brown briefings/counter briefings bollocks, whilst it was incredibly irritating and you thought surely people are bored of this, but it was obvious that so long as it was there the press were going to be keep pushing it. Hacks love scandal. It's debatable how much of a negative effect it had electorally, but there's no doubt it was incredible distracting.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2012 • 72 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Barnard,

    I guess the question you're raising, Barnard, is to what extent should the Labour party allow the media to dictate their actions? Because you're suggesting that unless Cunliffe behaves exactly how they want, then he's mounting a powerful challenge and Shearer's got to do something now.

    I think that's wrong on every level. Firstly, because doing that, in itself, can appear really weak to the public, because it IS really weak. Secondly, because this kind of control that people like Gower want to assert, is bottomless. They could behave exactly as dictated by the opinions columnists of the Herald, and still get slagged off. It actually doesn't work. When a child nags and nags you for something, and then in the end you relent, you very strongly encourage that kind of behaviour in the child again. If you want the media to act like a poorly behaved child, then act like a foolish parent, caving in to every demand. You won't be loved for it, you'll be disrespected as weak, and they'll never stop trying it on, and the demands will get bigger and bigger.

    If, on the other hand, you come across as principled, the punishment can very well work in the opposite direction, with people turning on the media itself, telling it to grow up. It's not actually Cunliffe who needs to go into the naughty corner. Shearer and he do not need to punch on for a nagging brat of a media's entertainment.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8319 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to BenWilson,

    Where do you think the media get their story ideas from? Constant leaking and bitchy whispering is another feature of an undisciplined caucus focused more on their own prospects than of the people they are supposedly there to serve.

    And so long as mouthy culprits like Shane Jones get away with publicly slagging his party's main coalition allies, voters will still be waiting for anyone to do what they're paid to. Or the Greens, Mana and Winston First start looking more attractive.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16496 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Sacha,

    Where do you think the media get their story ideas from?

    It's not really where they get their ideas from that goes to the facticity of their reporting. It's where they get their evidence from.

    Constant leaking and bitchy whispering is another feature of an undisciplined caucus focused more on their own prospects than of the people they are supposedly there to serve.

    I don't know about that. Undisciplined? Or democratic? It's a matter of perspective. We wanted a different Labour party, not run by a strong clique of old hacks. This is what it looks like.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8319 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to BenWilson,

    evidence

    Did you really notice any of that in the stories over the weekend? Shaping comms is broader than that.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16496 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to BenWilson,

    a strong clique of old hacks

    again, who do you think has been talking to media?

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16496 posts Report Reply

  • Barnard, in reply to BenWilson,

    I guess the question you’re raising, Barnard, is to what extent should the Labour party allow the media to dictate their actions? Because you’re suggesting that unless Cunliffe behaves exactly how they want, then he’s mounting a powerful challenge and Shearer’s got to do something now

    No, I said earlier I think it's possible to have caucus or a party that has healthy internal debate but to at least all find common cause in taking on a government or trying to win an election.I agree with Sacha that's it's the bitching and briefing that's the problem

    Wishing the hacks to report all that differently is pointless. There's a ship and a lighthouse in that equation, and it's not hard to guess who's who.

    Take the British Labour party, hacks are still trying to get traction over Blairite & anti Blairite factions. But it's not really gone anywhere as you get the sense the caucus itself have realised how self defeating it is. Whether that remains the case if the Tories close the gaps in the polls we'll see, but they've doing a pretty decent job of all pointing in the same general direction and being focused.
    So I'm not saying that Labour should be letting the media dictate their actions, merely that they're smart enough to realise what they're dealing and be mature enough to focus on what's important.
    They could start by not pretending Cunliffe doesn't have an agenda, and either openly back him or back Shearer's attempts to get him to pull his head in.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2012 • 72 posts Report Reply

  • Richard Aston,

    Why don't the Labour party adopt the same co-leader set up as Maori and Greens?
    Male/Female co-leaders ...perhaps that would take the sting out of the "one leader to rule them all " dynamic.

    I suspect they are so stuck in the last century they may never have considered the idea.

    Still its interesting to speculate who the happy couple might be.
    David Shearer / Jacinda Ardern ?
    David Cunliffe/ Lianne Dalziel ?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 474 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz, in reply to Richard Aston,

    What, and only get half the salary each? And have to flat with each other in Premier House?

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 4422 posts Report Reply

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