Judith Collins: Dance of the Desperates

Judith CollinsBy Hon Judith Collins

I grew up Labour – in the days of Norm Kirk and the more forgettable Bill Rowling.  I knew David Lange – having chosen to intern in his Mangere Electorate Office while at Law School.

So I can say that to see the self indulgent warbling of Labour’s Three Amigos  as they troop around the country promising anything to anyone (with the exception of Shane who has threatened only bad things to the PM) will be a mildly sad sight to those who still willingly pay their $10 to join the Labour Party.

Political parties should always be about their members but this strange and foolish exhibition of faked friendship and grandiose schemes has been nothing more than embarrassing.

The fact that it has been allowed to happen in the first place is because those that control Labour’s hierarchy didn’t like the caucus decision on Leadership.  Everyone liked David Shearer, it’s just that no one particularly wanted to follow him. Labour’s caucus vote was very much anyone other than David Cunliffe. So the Party’s President decided to put Caucus back in its place and to assert the power of the unions.

The result will be that the wider party membership chooses the Parliamentary Leader of the Labour Party and the Parliamentary Caucus chooses the Deputy. The wider membership already chooses the President and all senior members of the Party.

So let’s look at the candidates:

David Cunliffe – no one would argue that Cunners (the more affectionate term for him) is anything but intelligent – least of all himself.  His overwhelming self confidence would be admirable if it weren’t for his overwhelming lack of confidence in any of his colleagues.  His choice last time of the pleasant Nanaia Mahuta as a Deputy said it all. Ticking boxes is more important in a Deputy to Cunners than either ability or work ethic. He doesn’t want a Deputy who might have an opinion not his own.

Grant Robertson – I really don’t think many people care that Grant is gay. In my opinion, Kiwis care that Grant  thinks it’s such a big deal that he denied that his partner, Alf, was in the very same pub as Grant when it suited him for the TV cameras.  That was a Judas moment and Grant lost my respect for it.   Most people who know Grant would say that he’s a nice guy. He tries hard to be liked.  He tries hard to fit in. And therein is part of his problem.  Leaders make decisions – tough decisions. Grant’s already shown that he can’t make those decisions.  He’s more interested in being liked.  Grant thinks that Kiwis care about what Grant cares about.  They don’t.

Shane Jones – well, I quite like Shane. He has  the gift of oratory like Norman Kirk or David Lange.  His natural ability though is used to mask his chronic lack of discipline.  Unlike David and Grant, Shane is the person you’d like to have a drink with. He really wasn’t much of a Minister, but he had fun trying.  Shane likes to play the larrikin which can be amusing.  But he goes too far when he descends into smutty language and he let himself down in Hamilton.

How will this end? Robertson will get the overwhelming support of his caucus who will forgive him for not properly supporting David Shearer – after all – none of them did in the end.

Cunliffe will get the overwhelming support of the wider Party and the unions. Shane will get support from people who like the fact that he has tried to continue the tradition of working class hero not mollycoddled prat.

Cunliffe will be the next Labour Leader. He’ll install a deputy who makes him look good.  And then the knives really will come out.


**Disclaimer** we at the Ruminator do not endorse anything Ms Collins says, does or holds in adorable photos. We asked for an apolitical post to feature as part of our “You Don’t Know Me Series” and she very generously agreed to provide one. However being so deep into politics she struggled with writing a comprehensive apolitical piece. So being the kind person I am, I said she could write something political. Less than 72 hours later I received the above.



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  1. ‘And then the knives really will come out.’

    The knives have always been out – they are always at the ready – and they will be fully utilised till the very end.

    That’s politics.

  2. Your view is a calculated personal slight against these leadership prospects. Your conclusion, by inference, is that no one is a worthwhile leader. This is petty, mean and blinkered, and does not reflect well upon you Crusher.

    • Are you kidding – its hilarious! Get a life!

      As for a worthwhile leader – most folk at my pub agree the “3 amigos” are hopeless at leader role, We need better options than this lot.

      And no, I did not vote National.

  3. Labour needs to be careful here that they don’t emulate their colleagues across the ditch. The Australian Labor Party should have been able to absolutely smash Tony Abbott’s Liberals at the polls. Abbott is an intensely disliked and distrusted person in Australia, however when Labor continually underminded its own credibility in the public eye by having the unions undermine Rudd, then Rudds supporters undermining Gillard to reinstate Rudd, meant that Abbott and the Liberals actually looked like they might focus on running the country rather than knifing each other.

    Cunliffe has that Rudd light quality about him. He’s clearly one of the smartest guys in the room, but he doesn’t appear to get on well with his colleagues. His continued leadership challenges and rumours undermined a sense of unity within the party and helped create an impression that Labour was more interested in its own navel gazing than what was going on in the country.

    What Labour needs to do here is elect a capable leader – and any of the three would appear to be fairly capable at that job – and get in behind them without question. Given the damage this infighting has done to their brand in the eyes of the public, the leader needs the backing to see out an election defeat in 2014 if need be and focus instead towards 2017.

    Failing to do this means two outcomes for Labour, the first (and most obvious) is that they continually languish or even drop further behind National. The second (and quite interesting one) is that the Greens seize the opportunity to become more mainstream and gobble up Labour’s disenfranchised voters. The Greens have already made off with Labour’s far left supporters and are making significant inroads into Labour’s mid-left base. If Labour can’t get all its ducks in a line and start looking like a Government in waiting, the Greens could really consolidate their grip on those voters and cause great problems for Labour’s attempts to form Governments in the future.

  4. My question is to Ms Collins and asks (nice puppy, by the way): in your fourth paragraph you say, correctly, that “the Parliamentary Caucus chooses the Deputy”; in your last two lines you say: “Cunliffe will be the next Labour Leader. He’ll install a deputy who makes him look good.”
    Why should I believe you if you make sloppy mistakes like that? And what are you going to do to stop the ghastly business of dog fighting?”

  5. Your take on Cunliffe is accurate. Like Muldoon, he will only want the sycophant by his side. And he will sell his mother for the opportunity for power. He stinks of sociopath.

    But is he really intelligent? Muldoon had an IQ of 160, apparently. He also went down in history as our most destructive, pig-headed, and in ways that matter the most, our most stupid national leader of all time.

    Who wants to see another Muldoon running this country?

  6. Judith, don’t do this, I admire you as an MP. This demeans you.

  7. Well it’s obvious that Crusher has the wind up. The democratic and civilized way this leadership campaign has been carried out has the Tories seething with anger, They pulled all the stops to have the public believe that the leadership campaign would be a blood bath
    it has not. The grinning stupid looking Patrick Gower of TV3 should resign ,his so called news items have continuously forecast a blood bath .Who can ever believe what he says in the future.

  8. “Cunliffe will be the next Labour Leader. He’ll install a deputy who makes him look good. And then the knives really will come out.”

    Sorry but as you point out yourself a few paragraphs earlier, the caucus will elect the deputy, NOT David Cunliffe. So this is just a cheap shot based on what you know is a lie



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