Shearer hints at front bench shake-up

Shearer: low poll rating
Cunliffe: room at the top

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.”

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13 Comments & Questions

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Although I am not a Labour supporter,I have to say that Shearer presented well on Q +A.
Good to see some direct and honest replies to questions as compared with National's ducking and weaving of late.


Why do I shudder every time I hear the name 'Cunliffe'? Any counsellors out there?


Are they moving the front bench to Chch?


Hurry up, David. The suspense is killing us.


This guy is dead in the water


The comment made that there is now no difference between National and Labour is so true. My parents and I have always been Labour supporters but not any more.

There are so many issues that need to be questioned in Parliament but Labour just sits low, all I see is the Green Party challenging these issues and in depth. I sometimes wonder if the reporters are even interested in what Mr. Shearer has to say, I think his future goal is to be in another issue of House and Garden.


Shearer is essentially National-lite. Considering Cunliffe talks like a progressive, but remains with Labour, makes me think that he and Labour would be no different then the Lib Dems in the U.K., who, likewise, could be described as Tory-lite. So, instead of voting for either of the two party store fronts that work for the same corporate masters, we're better off voting for the Greens as a true third party option.


Cunliffe is well known as "Mr T"

The man who put the "T" in cunliffe!



Rearranging the deck chairs on SS Labour/Titanic more lke it...

The knives are being sharpened behind duplicitious half-smiles.

This will be a slow-motion train wreck - who will come out victor?


Why do people still vote for this soiled lame duck party?


Dead Man Walking.


Labour is finished. Not a single charismatic intelligent and progressive brain anywhere in the ranks. In fact I'll say the same about NZ's entire parliament. Troughers the lot of them.


I watched Shearer on the Nation and listened carefully. I thought he performed pretty badly. He had no new answers to the stuff he was critical of National about. His policy was either pretty much the same, very vague or non-existent.

Hopeless I'm afraid.


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