That nice David Shearer reveals his bully side

Dr Brian Edwards

A little bird (not David Cunliffe) has told me that in the run-up to today’s emergency caucus meeting a number of Labour MPs, probably a majority, were rung by David Shearer or one of his apparatchiks seeking a cast-iron guarantee that they would be supporting Shearer today and in the constitutionally mandatory confidence vote in February.

This is both unethical and against Labour’s constitution.

It makes nonsense of yesterday’s ‘unanimous’ vote.

And it makes nonsense of the February vote. If a majority of Labour MPs have yielded to this monstrous piece of bullying, that vote has in effect already been taken.

Should Shearer prove a disaster over the next three months those MPs who assured him of their support in February will have no choice but to stand by him, regardless of the damage this might do to the Party.

And finally it makes nonsense of the most essential feature of any caucus vote on the leadership, that it is a secret ballot.

Shearer now knows with reasonable certainty how each of his MPs intends to vote in the ‘secret’ February ballot.

And there can be little doubt that there will be a witch-hunt if the vote is not heavily in his favour.

Meanwhile, Cunliffe has been banned from talking to the media about what actually happened at yesterday’s emergency meeting. No-one in fact other than Shearer himself can say anything about what went on. Cunliffe has been charged, found guilty and silenced.

So much for fairness.

So much for openness and transparency.

So much for Labour.

Media trainer and commentator Dr Brian Edwards blogs at Brian Edwards Media

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7 Comments & Questions

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Seriously Edwards... The ONLY thing Labour should be doing right now is keeping a unified front to the media. Self-interested, self-promoting lackeys like yourself got them in this mess. Their media strategy has been hopeless, regardless of whether Cunliffe in fact tried to roll Shearer or not (jury is out - the voting rules change may have been innocuous). Too right that Shearer made sure everyone was on side.


Because image is so much more important than substance? Actually, both those factors are lacking in Labour... and in their support party (Labour-B)


Seriously Edwards, we dont give a sh*t. Labour have played you journos like a musical instrument and worse still, you're all slavishluy reporting the fact that it happened. Says a lot about the quality of media in New Zealand


Edwards is correct, no party can survive long with half the caucus operating with one arm twisted up their backs.


What are the chances that this is actually a Labour Party set-up, that is they have manufactured the whole challenge-the-leader who then shows how powerful he is by delivering overwhelming support. Cunnliffe may or may not have known. Probably easy to lead him down the garden path. I smell a fish!


Mr Edwards,
The point is that DC did not have anywhere near the votes required to change the leadership.So while he has been made to look foolish he probably deserves to be made to look foolish. You cant tell me that an un liked person can hijack a conference and expect nothing to be done once he has been delt with. That may be ok in the world of pure justice or the rule of law but in reality DC knew exactly the reaction he would get but chose to do it anyway. This guy may lack EQ but he certainly does not lack IQ.


More hypocrisy from Edwards. David Shearer ringing MPs to ask how they are going to vote is straight out of the Helen Clarke playbook and good on him. This past few days has shown Shearer to be a big game player who kept his head, which is what we want from our leaders, i sharp contrast to the petulant, impatient badly judged moves by Cunliffe.


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