Shearer hints at front bench shake-up
"Good to see some direct and honest replies to questions as compared with National's ducking and weaving of late."Featured comment
Labour Leader David Shearer is talking about a reshuffle of his front bench.
Speaking this weekend on TV3’s The Nation programme, Mr Shearer said the party was doing well. “But will we have some changes later on? Quite possibly,” he said. He would not say whether that would be before the end of the year.
He said he disagreed with the claim earlier this year by Economic Development spokesman David Cunliffe that voters who deserted Labour did so because they party’s policies as not very different to National’s.
However, there was room for Mr Cunliffe inside Labour because it was “a broad church”.
“There are many people who vote Labour from what you might call left and to the right as well.
“It's a broad church and what we're looking for is to be a party for all New Zealanders, not just one of the other.”
Mr Shearer said the idea of a social contract was fundamental to Labour’s economic policies.
And he rejected criticism from his party’s left over his references to a sickness beneficiary who had been well enough to paint a roof.
“You know you work, you pay your taxes, and then when you need it you lose your job, you have an accident, the state looks after you.
“As soon as you're able to get back onto your feet again, the expectation is that you go back and you start paying your way again.
“That’s the social contract, now if that is broken at either end, somebody avoiding paying their taxes, or somebody bludging or doing whatever they're doing at the other end, then that’s an issue of fairness, and New Zealanders are very concerned about fairness, and we need to make sure that that system works.”
He also defended criticism of his performance in Parliament’s debating chamber and his own low poll rating.
“Nobody likes to be criticised but that just comes with the territory. I don’t have a problem with that.
“But what I will say is that as a politician I will not be a politician who personally goes after my opponent. I'll play the ball and not the man.”
Asked if the performance continued whether he might relinquish his job, he said: “2014 is what I'm aiming for and then to be prime minister in 2014, and leading the Labour Party into government.”