Labour’s rule change over leadership selection got the party the man the unions and members preferred but he wasn’t the first choice of the majority of MPs.
The caucus was tired, stale and divided before the leadership change and David Cunliffe hasn’t been able to make a noticeable difference yet.
He’s still got only one MP who’s announced his retirement, the divisions are still obvious and the caucus still doesn’t look like a government in waiting.
Cunliffe needed to make a strong start to the year and he didn’t.
He made a mess of his first big announcement by fudging the figures on the baby bribe and his caucus was noticeable by its absence in the aftermath of that.
This week, while he was getting attention for all the wrong reasons for musing on conspiracy theories, upsetting a photographer and trying to downplay his wealth this week, one of the two men who contested the leadership against him, Shane Jones, was getting attention for the right reasons with his allegations about supermarket skullduggery.
The Commerce Commission has launched a formal investigation into the allegations.
. . . The investigation will involve seeking a wide range of information from a variety of sources, including organisations from all areas of the supermarket sector. The investigation is expected to take a number of months.
The Commission will not be making any further comment on this active investigation.
Anyone who has information relevant to the allegations is encouraged to contact us on 0800 943 600. They can request that the Commission keep their identity and/or the information provided confidential. The Commission will not disclose the identity and/or information unless consent is given or the Commission is required to by law. If confidentiality is a concern then it should be raised when first contact is made with the Commission.
The election could well be over by the time the investigation is finished but that doesn’t matter.
Raising the issue wasn’t the end for Jones but the means for him to promote himself and provide a positive contrast to the leader he’ll be hoping to replace.
It would be a desperate act to depose Cunliffe in the next few months and go into the election with the fourth leader since the party’s big defeat in 2011.
But Cunliffe couldn’t survive another loss and maybe that’s why it looks like Labour doesn’t want to win.
Party members and the unions do.
But the caucus looks like it neither wants to win nor is capable of winning.
And maybe that’s the plan – lose the election, and if Cunliffe doesn’t jump he would be pushed by the vote of confidence the party rules require after the election.
That won’t guarantee caucus get the leader they want, because the unions and members will be able to vote them again.
But maybe they’ll be satisfied by ABC – Anyone But Cunliffe.