Can David Shearer make the changes Labour needs? John Armstrong in the Herald is positive about Shearer’s chances and he lists the new leader’s strengths in today’s column, New leader for long journey out of the wilderness. According to Armstrong ‘Shearer will bring change by making the party less hostage to the political correctness that still plagues its image’, and he’ll transform the problematic relationship between the ‘party's various groups - union affiliates, Labour women, Labour youth, Maori, Pasifika, gays and so on’ so that the ‘seriously flabby political institution’ becomes ‘a slick political machine’.
The Dominion Post editorial agrees – see: Fresh-faced Shearer has to sharpen axe – arguing that Labour ‘has lost its way and it has lost touch with the voters who cluster about the political middle. It is they, not the interest groups that Labour has been talking to, who determine election outcomes’.
Tim Watkin also takes this line, suggesting that ‘Labour's image is too closely tied to identity politics and a "thou shalt" attitude to governing. Shearer and Roberston together have talked about "reconnecting" and that means bread and butter issues and a focus on their normality rather than their exceptionalism’ – see: David Shearer's fresh start – 1) Keep it real. Watkins also thinks that Shearer needs to define the new-look party with ‘a big idea sooner rather than later which represents his values and identity and says something about this "fresh" Labour party’.
Many are speculating on just how long Shearer has to turn things around before he is dumped if he doesn’t achieve results. Watkin says ‘He has to rattle this government and have some success within the first year, or else the party will look again at Cunliffe or move on to Grant Robertson. Shearer doesn't have long’. Vernon Small says he has two years (Hard work's ahead for Shearer). I’m also quoted about this in Paul Harper’s article, Shearer has two years, Robertson in wings.
Not everyone is so positive though. Gordon Campbell (On the Labour leadership change) has some doubts that Labour has made the right decision: ‘ideologically, neither Shearer or Cunliffe mark much of a break from Phil Goff’s worldview’. He makes the point that ‘both New Zealand’s main political parties are now being lead by politicians who are running, essentially, as anti-politicians. Both project themselves as ordinary bloke outsiders to what Parliament has come to represent’.
The Standard blogsite, having clearly backed the defeated Cunliffe, offers congratulations and advice (Countering the Tories’ bait & switch) but some bitterness seeps through in the continued line that Shearer is the unwitting tool of the rightwing (and their ‘useful idiots’ – namely Chris Trotter and myself). With ‘friends’ like The Standard, David Shearer clearly has an uphill battle uniting an unhappy activist base.
So how easily did Shearer win the contest? According to TV3, the Shearer camp claims ‘that he got around 22 votes and Mr Cunliffe, just 12’ (Shearer routs Cunliffe for Labour leadership).
In other political analysis Brian Rudman (Don't sweat over waka-jumping or party lists) looks at National’s flip flopping over possible MMP reforms, and Peter Lyons (Big fish-hooks in educational vision) has an excellent summary of the pitfalls of the Charter Schools policy. And finally, Colin James thoughtfully surveys some of the other important political issues of the day in MMP at work: concession or convenience? [Continue reading below for a full list of the highlights of NZ Politics Daily]
Gordon Campbell (Scoop): On the Labour leadership change
Paul Harper (NZH): Commentator: Shearer has two years, Robertson in wings
John Armstrong (NZH): New leader for long journey out of the wilderness
John Amstrong (NZH): Shearer 'brave, but right' choice
Tim Watkin (Pundit): David Shearer's fresh start – 1) Keep it real
Vernon Small (Stuff): Hard work's ahead for Shearer
Claire Trevett (NZH): Shearer - peacemaking leader's first job
Guyon Espiner (TVNZ): Hard work starts for fresh Labour leader
Duncan Garner (TV3): Shearer routs Cunliffe for Labour leadership
Duncan Garner (TV3): Time to come clean
Barry Soper (Newstalk ZB): Political Report: December 14
Patrick Gower (TV3): David Shearer: From warzones to the political frontline
John Hartevelt (Stuff): Onwards or outwards for new Labour boss
Dene Mackenzie (ODT): Shearer vows to 'rebuild and reconnect'
Tracy Watkins (Stuff): Shearer must unlock mix to beat Key
Dom Post: Editorial: Fresh-faced Shearer has to sharpen axe
Andrea Vance (Stuff): Hipkins: Labour must unite behind leaders
Lloyd Burr (TV3): Shearer: I have a mandate for change
Amelia Romanos and Herald Online staff: New Labour line-up to be unveiled next week
Vernon Small (Dom Post): Shearer expected to reshuffle front bench
Adam Bennett (NZH): David Cunliffe pledges 'total support'
Audrey Young (NZH): Meteoric rise to Labour's top spot
TVNZ: Who is David Shearer?
Kate Chapman (Stuff): Grant Robertson Profile
Derek Cheng (NZH): Shearer sees benefit in opposition co-operation
Newstalk ZB: Union wants Shearer to get on with it
David Farrar (Stuff): Who should be on Labour's front bench?
Jadis (Kiwiblog): How long will Shearer last?
The Dim-Post: Is Shearer a risk for Labour?
The Standard: Countering the Tories’ bait & switch
Chris Ford: An open letter to Labour's new leadership team
No Right Turn: It’s David
Kiwipolitico: Opening moves
Imperator Fish: To The Disappointed
Patrick Leyland (The Progress Report): Shearer’s first steps
John Pagani (Stuff): Labour's new leader
Dim Post: Another contest
Dom Post: King may run for Wellington mayoralty
Brian Rudman (NZH): Don't sweat over waka-jumping or party lists
Grant Duncan (Policy Matters): More on the referendum
Peter O’Connor (Dom Post): Good public education is at risk
Peter Lyons (ODT): Big fish-hooks in educational vision
Nelson Mail: Editorial: Hard being a sheriff in the new wild west
John Hartevelt (Stuff): New Government sworn in
Andrea Vance (Stuff): Coleman gets new job and sacks three staff
Fran O’Sullivan (NZH): Mr Fix-it becomes super minister
Colin James (ODT): MMP at work: concession or convenience?
Kate Chapman (Stuff): Maori Party keeps leadership status quo