The election just got very serious. Matt McCarten is the street fighter's street fighter. He is a great campaigner for sure, I don't know how much of a great chief-of-staff he will be. Like Cunliffe's whip for the party. Is this an internal purge of the right going on? That is one way of achieving unity before the election.
The thing Cunliffe’s Labour needs is a Chief-of-Staff not afraid to bang Caucus heads together and force some unity into the Party. In Matt McCarten the Right have a political operator unlike any they have encountered. His ability to out-mobilise, out-organise and out-argue them has been demonstrated time and time and time again in a political career that is unmatched.
He is a ruthless strategist and brilliant tactician. His ascendency should cheer every genuine left wing and progressive heart in NZ. The mainstream media may like to try and paint Cunliffe as an ideological chameleon, but let’s see the NBR, John Armstrong. Patrick Leyland or Kiwipolitico try and claim McCarten is secretly a right winger.
The only sadness about the appointment of Matt McCarten as David Cunliffe’s Chief-of-staff is that I didn’t get to see John Key’s or Cameron Slater’s or Jane Clifton’s or Trevor Mallard’s or Matthew Hooton’s or David Farrar’s faces when they heard the news.
I have a lot of respect for Matt and this is a smart move by Cunliffe. I immediately thought of Mallard. Good job! It cuts the right and the Wellington establishment, it links unions and it links with Mana. It suits the internal politics within the caucus and the party, it suits the election campaign, and it doesn't suit the people, like Hipkins et al. who aren't team players and need to get out of Wellington more often. It promises to motivate the potential voter base everyone knows is out there, waiting, latent. If the campaign against the National government (and the rogernomes within the caucus) is to be co-ordinated on a front then Matt is your man. This will bond and unify, but maybe more in fear.