Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Who's right and who's wrong here?

What should have been a minor story about David Cunliffe's no-show on The Nation on TV3 at the weekend is threatening to become a bigger issue; one of credibility; Duncan Garner from 3News reports:

A row over the non-appearance of Labour MP David Cunliffe on a TV3 political programme this past weekend has escalated, with claims Mr Cunliffe has been gagged by his own party.
And party leader David Shearer and Mr Cunliffe have not yet cleared things up.
TV3's The Nation programme tried to get Mr Cunliffe, Labour's economic development spokesman, on to be interviewed this past weekend about the economy.
But his own party blocked him from appearing.
We asked his leader why that happened.
“What we were looking at was a broad discussion on economic policy so we put forward David Parker who is our finance spokesman,” Mr Shearer says.
It all started last Tuesday with The Nation approaching Mr Cunliffe to come on the programme.
On Wednesday Mr Cunliffe says he is interested but says it must stay on economic issues.
The Nation agrees in writing to that deal.

There's the scene-setter; now here's where it starts to get messy:

But Mr Cunliffe says he has to run it by the "Labour's media and top team".
He did and by Thursday last week - they stopped him appearing, saying David Parker was the man to speak to about Budget and economic issues.
But Mr Cunliffe says it was a team decision and Mr Shearer says it was Cunliffe's.
“I consulted - we reached a team decision we offered our finance spokesman to talk about Budget issues it appeared to be a broader interview than economic development," Mr Cunliffe says.
“I didn't stop David Cunliffe appearing it was his own decision," Mr Shearer says.

And it seems as though there has already been tension within the Labour ranks over this issue; read on:

The fuss around Mr Cunliffe started two weeks ago when he made a speech about the economy.
It clashed with Leader David Shearer's series of speeches.
Mr Cunliffe was hauled into line by Mr Shearer in front of the caucus and it has been tense ever since.
“It was a speech to his electorate .. and we've discussed it and there's nothing further to say,” Mr Shearer says.
Other Labour MPs have also told us that Cunliffe has been "hammered" for making the speech two weeks ago.
But he has pockets of support.
And this shows Mr Cunliffe has not given up his leadership aspirations.

One thing that David Cunliffe is notable for is a very high regard for his own abilities, even if those around him do not realise how good he is. It seems that he's not going to go away following his defeat in December's leadership contest. Perhaps he and Kevin Rudd correspond from time to time, because the modus operandi is similar!

And Mr Shearer should have shut this down quickly, rather than trying to explain. He obviously hasn't studied Whaleoil's Rules of Politics, especially Rule #1

1) If you are explaining, you are losing.

We somehow doubt that we've seen the last of this issue.

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