Earth to the Labour Party - where are you Labour Party?
There was a fear that when the right wing faction of the Labour Party gave David Shearer the numbers to beat Cunliffe for the leadership (as described by Fran O'Sullivan) that Shearer would not be his own man with that political faction chip on his shoulder.
That fear may be well founded. With welfare reform reading lists that makes Tony Blair's 3rd way look principled, it seems that perhaps David's political advisors want to grow his pie, not by exciting the passions of the nearly one million enrolled voters who didn't bother to vote, but by simply fighting National for their voters.
That's a pretty stupid way to grow a pie.
By sinking into a party that merely manages redneck NZ rather than challenge it, why would anyone bother voting for Labour?
As the mighty Chris Trotter points out...
You are fond of telling us, Mr Shearer, about that transformative moment in the Sudan when you looked over the side of the truck you were travelling in and witnessed half-starved children scrabbling in the dust for the scraps of food you had casually tossed away. It’s an arresting image: redolent with all the sub-texts of injustice, wealth and poverty, and the inevitable conflicts to which scarcity gives rise. And the clear implication of your story is that not only did you perceive the intrinsic moral squalor of the scene being enacted in the fly-blown Sudan dust, but that you decided then and there to do something about it.
...Shearer was picked as leader because his none political back story could disarm Key's none political back story, yet the sense of morality that made Shearer leadership material is utterly lacking as the Ports of Auckland set up an unethical attack on unionized workers.
What David's advisors seem to fear is Brand Shearer being linked to 'old labour' by having him rush to the defense of the Union, that shallow expediency avoids the fact that what is being proposed by Ports of Auckland has all the ethics of burning puppies alive.
What the Ports of Auckland attempt to crush unionized workers actually represents is the low wage economy National have managed to degrade NZ down to, PoA CEO Tony Gibson takes home over $750 000 yet wants to chop 320 workers pay by $20 000 to save $6 million? As the ever brilliant Rod Oram reading deeper into the Productivity Report points out, the real reason our exports are being hurt via our ports is the much higher freight costs the shipping lines themselves charge. A shipping container from Auckland to Singapore costs $1553 while it cost only $486 from Sydney, as Oram concludes, "shipping costs dwarf whatever productivity gains the ports can achieve so the government must investigate them. If it refuses to do so, yet it heaps pressure on council-owned port companies and their unions to eke out efficiency gains, the government, quite simply would be acting uneconomically and, worse, immorally."
That Labour are so silent on an issue of social justice as clear cut as this dispute suggests that Team Shearer are simply hoping for National to just lose 2014 by John Key accidentally choking to death on a pretzel, or it suggests Labour's strategists aren't bothering to excite apathetic voters and are moving to the right to try and win National Party voters.
Either answer is depressing for educated NZers.
Shearer needs a strategy and needs one fast otherwise David Cunliffe will be starting up BBQ sessions this summer.