NZ POLITICS DAILY: Shearer just locked in his shot at becoming the next prime minister

David Shearer

David Shearer may have just locked in his shot at becoming the next prime minister.

With changes to Labour’s leadership election rules he will have to win a majority caucus confidence vote next year, but after that the task of any leadership challenger will be much harder.

The most obvious change is that of having to build support amongst members and union affiliates to win a vote. But the changes of process probably have more impact in practical terms.

Under these new "incumbency protection" rules, a challenge can only be initiated by two-thirds of the caucus.

It’s worth noting that successful leadership coups don’t normally start with a majority, but rely on spooking enough waverers in the final run to build a majority, which is then presented to the incumbent as a fait accompli.

Having to get two-thirds formally signed up before the voting even starts will make it impossible to stab your colleague in the back without having to actually eyeball them.

Coups often rely on speed and stealth in the early stages, but the new required membership vote will take time and give the incumbent a huge opportunity and a public platform to fight back.

The classic hurried return flight of the leader from an overseas jaunt and dreaded airport briefing from loyalists will be a thing of the past for Labour leaders. 

As I commented to Claire Trevett (see: Labour makes it harder to dump leader) this is probably a good move for Labour. Leadership coups are usually motivated by growing panic by MPs about their personal political survival.
The mere possibility of a leadership coup is usually has a corrosive effect on polls and provides an opportunity for political opponents to make mischief.
Labour is smart to reduce that threat and distraction. Introducing a broader and longer-term perspective to choosing its leader will make the party more stable and the choice more considered.  
Of course, Labour could go much further, as No Right Turn points out in his evaluation – see: An improvement, but not democracy. It is actually quite common overseas (and even among New Zealand’s smaller political parties) to give party members 100% of the say over who leads the party.
While the changes seem to have approval from The Standard (see Mike Smith’s Labour’s review – a good job well done), David Farrar claims a united union vote would give them decisive power – see: Unions gain vote on Labour leader.
There are other changes to the list selection and policy process and a move to strengthen regional campaign organisation to build the party vote rather than individual electorates – see: Vernon Small's  Unions gain Labour leader vote.
Electorate selection has not yet been reviewed but Labour president Moira Coatsworth told RNZ’s Morning Report that a task force will look at how to ensure more women stand in safe seats – see: Labour president wants more women in safe seats.
It’s the big showdown between the Maori Party and John Key today over water rights – or not. The coalition partners appear to have different views on the importance of the meeting – see Adam Bennett’s Maori Party anxious but positive' over meeting PM.
But divorce is very unlikely today. Expect vague promises to listen "in good faith" and work towards a negotiated solution that doesn’t delay the asset sales. Relying on iwi leaders to agree on a solution may be optimistic, writes Kate Chapman in Iwi leaders' views differ on water rights.
Only negotiating with a few is one solution. Mana president Annette Sykes claims the government is paying $300,000 to consult on freshwater issues to just five of the largest iwi while smaller tribes get nothing – listen to RNZ’s Manu Korihi News.
The Otago Daily Times gets nostalgic for a simpler age when claims to water would have been seen as ridiculous and asks if "there are claims to minerals, the airwaves, and so on. Where will it end?" – see: Politics, Maori and water rights.
For a thoughtful philosophic analysis of what is really at stake see the Political Scientist blog’s Water, Waitangi, ownership and power.
The Opposition failed to take up the opportunity of the first day back in Parliament yesterday to attack the government over the water rights issue according to John Armstrong – see: What happened to the big hit from the Opposition?  
He makes the important observation that "on the question of whether Maori have ownership rights to water, Labour's need to appeal both to Maori voters as well as mainstream, conservative-minded Pakeha ones makes things as tricky for that party as it does for a National government. Perhaps more so".
Chris Trotter suggests that the establishment needn’t be too worried about Maori legal action on water ownership – nor should they worry too much about the protests against asset sales: "While Maori are obviously concerned to secure a seat at the table when it comes to dividing up the spoils of the partial privatisation process, it is by no means clear that Maoridom as a whole is opposed to the sale of state assets per se…. But, representatives of the much more powerful Iwi Leaders Group spoke elsewhere (and approvingly) of 'market mechanisms', 'reserved share-holdings' and 'royalties'." – see: Needing divine help to make up numbers.
Other important or interesting political items today include:
Grant Robertson responds, again, to Chris Trotter’s criticisms of him, using the Greens opposition to genetic modification as an example of why Labour must resist "uncompromising dogma" – see: Economy, environment not mutually exclusive.
The show continues with Judith Collins’ defamation action hitting the courts today. The substantive hearing will be in February and they were only laying out the hearing schedule today, but even that is an opportunity to make headlines – see: Mallard wants to see Key in court.
The battle between the generations is taken up by baby boomer Fran O’Sullivan, who writes to the PM with some practical suggestions for easing the burden on younger generations – see: Dear John: Generational equity a must.
Even a government minister is embarrassed by the low level of public expenditure on social housing (see RNZ’s Shock at size of NZ social housing spending), but another minister is taking landlords overcharging for poor housing to task – see: John Hartevelt’s Landlords picking on the poor. The named landlord issued an invitation for Paula Bennett to "get off her fat ar*e" and see what he provides first-hand – see: Hartevelt’s Bennett challenged to visit caravan park.
Stephen Franks urges left-leaning Auckland councillor Cathy Casey to keep the pressure on for her right to information as an elected representative – see: Super City an elected dictatorship.
ACC is, again, under fire for unreasonably denying clients access to support – see: Paloma Migone, Stacey Kirk and Danya Levy’s Abuse survivors struggling to access ACC.
Climate skeptics put their case to the court yesterday in their fight against NIWA – see: Niwa breaching its duties with figures - sceptics group.
But wait – there’s more! There is still another $200 million to be spent planning the "Roads of National Significance" – see: RNZ’s Govt to spend more on transport consultants.
Both Tim Selwyn and Brian Rudman question attempts to fund Auckland roads via tolls – see: Rudman’s Grand Old Duke of Auck marches to his own beat  and Selwyn’s Tolling a division of society.
Legislation to ensure substances sold in New Zealand are safe appears to have some gaps, writes the Timaru Herald in today’s editorial: Something missing?
It was all a big mistake and it won’t happen again reports Michael Field – see: Helen Clark shocked at tobacco award.
Finally, Danyl Mclauchlan has the complete solution to all our political problems, as well as fixing that computer virus you didn’t even know you had – see: National government to outsource government of government.
Bryce Edwards

Today's content:
Labour Party review
Claire Trevett (Herald): Labour makes it harder to dump leader
Vernon Small (Stuff): Unions gain Labour leader vote
Pete George (Your NZ): Labour’s 40-40-20 split
David Farrar (Kiwiblog): Unions gain vote on Labour leader
Water rights and asset sales
Kate Chapman (Stuff): Turia to meet Key over water rights
The Political Scientist: Water, Waitangi, ownership and power
ACC and Collins defamation suit
Matthew Theunissen (Herald): ACC defamation claim trial date set
Paloma Migone, Stacey Kirk and Danya Levy (Stuff): Abuse survivors struggling to access ACC
Paloma MIgone (Stuff): ACC sex abuse processes 'need review'
Russell Brown (Hard News): It's not funny because it's our money
Tim Selwyn (Tumeke): Tolling a division of society
John Hartevelt (Stuff): Landlords picking on the poor
John Braddock (World Socialists): New Zealand household finances increasingly precarious
Stephen Franks (Herald): Super City an elected dictatorship
Fran O’Sullivan (Herald); Dear John: Generational equity a must
Pete George (Your NZ); United Future donation scandal
Michael Field (Stuff): Helen Clark shocked at tobacco award
Lincoln Tan (Herald): Sex workers cry foul over booklet
Natalie Akoorie and Teuila Fuatai (Herald): Jury's out on compulsory use of Maori in court













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Shearer might be safe a while, but rest assured a leopard never changes it’s spots and Labour will not be able to help itself from it’s usual modus operandi as the election draws nearer and labour’s polling gets worse.

Labour will not only have the David’s issues to contend with as well as the rainbow and union factions – they also have themselves to battle with also. As the Greens eat further and further into Labour’s traditional voter base, with the unions losing more and more relevance by the day with non-issue fiascos they attempt to create, Labour will also have the union factions stomping petulant, militant feet demanding better results of their political puppets. All that money donated to the Labour Party – they want their pound of flesh payment – and that’s staunch unionists in Labour’s caucus.

The Greens will sit on the side lines taking opportunistic pot shots at Labour when ever possible – further enraging the union factions that continue to demand even quicker progress in the polls. (They have their Little man – but little hope of getting anywhere)

Ironically for Shearer – entrenching his position today will only deepen the purge later when it comes. It will be like a slow moving train wreck we get to watch happen over a number of months – and then no one in Labour will want the “instant hospital pass” Goof got suckered into swallowing. Just wait for internal Labour opponents to start pushing their most ardent internal opponent towards the leadership chair – then you really know there’s even more troubles for Labour than just their credibility, relevance, team morale, ability, trustworthiness, corrupt MP’s, murky and highly questionable “related party” funding by the unions and their usual modus operandi.

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just to state the obvious national at present elect their leader the same way labour does by the party of mps not party members . this will position labour as the partly democracy and freedom over national any day . because nationals crone's in parliament are the only ones with a say with its leadership .

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If Labour's version of "democracy" is by giving Union bullies more say to corrupt and coerce their leadership selection - like unions do to employers, workers and the economy - then I would take National's version any time. Needless to say, Andrew Little must be readying his run at the leadership as soon as the unions get their first vote- Shearer, watch out!

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What are crone's?

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MY COMMENT (yet to be published)

Don't be greedy and selfish NZ 'mums and dads' and 'grandmas and granddads'!

Think of your children and grandchildren and the children and grandchildren of those who are struggling now to pay power bills?

Think of the vulnerable elderly - who can't afford to have a heater on in winter.

Do YOU want a profitable Mighty Power dividend on the backs of the vulnerable poor whose power prices are bound to increase?

If so - what sort of New Zealander are YOU?

If YOU are a decent, ethical, socially and fiscally responsible New Zealander - YOU will pledge NOT to invest in Mighty River Power, and to take action that cannot be ignored!


Time to SWITCH OFF / SWITCH FROM Mercury Energy - 100% by Mighty River Power! Time to use the market against the market.

There is precedent for this.

In 2008, (already privatised) Contact Energy raised their power prices 12% and doubled Directors fees. In 6 months Contact Energy lost 40,000 customers and their profits halved.

Switch to Genesis or Meridian (NOT Contact Energy - because it's already privatised).

Penny Bright
'Anti-privatisation' /'Anti-corruption' campaigner

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Penny - have you been playing with lots of solvents in a small, unventilated room again?

Why don't you either occupy a job?


Investigate the missing millions of dollars the unions have hidden / lost / misappropriated / stolen / syphoned off from their members - and paid to the Labour Party?

There's political corruption there to be exposed - and if you're quick, you'll expose it before the MSM get a chance to...

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Penny-o-crite, with your concerns over corruption and power when, as anti-corruption watch dog, are you going campaign against the emissions tax scam. this referring to families, elderly and so on, struggling to pay bills. Or, are you all talk again?

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