Mar 21, 2008

Investigate Doesn't See Coup Happening: Is Their Reasoning Good?

Ian Wishart looks at the tensions within the Labour leadership in the latest issue of Investigate. He doesn't see that a coup is likely because of the current predominance of the Labour left. "For the [Labour] Right to rebuild Labour, this group [Goff, Cullen, Cosgrove, King, Cunliffe] needs the Left-wing to be routed at the next election. Nothing less than a National Party blitzkrieg will sweep clean Labour's stacked Party list MPs like Wall, trade unionist Darien Fenton, Maryan Street, Lesley Soper or Charles Chauvel."

This is an interesting take. However, does it stack up as an analysis? Have Wishart actually done the numbers on who will be in the caucus after achieving 36% of thereabouts in the Party vote? Will the left be more of less dominant?

The Hive must confess to not having completed this analysis (in fact it can't be completed until the Party list is out) but our initial work is showing that while Phil Goff is the obvious replacement for Clark, the numbers post election are likely to favour a candidate from the left. Certainly most of the selections in the Wellington region are left leaning.

We also think that Chauvel is miscategorized by Wishart. He is socially liberal but identifies more right than left on economic policy. He is also not a Clark man (not anymore). Indeed, he is right now a Cullen man.

We don't place Cullen as a rightist either. Not as far left as Clark or Anderton, but certainly not a Goff or a Moore. This is why, should there be a change under the current caucus composition, Cullen might get the numbers - he bridges both camps.

We are not saying their will be a coup. What we know is that the numbers are being done, mainly by disaffected MPs. Everyone is watching the polls. Goff, will not move. Cullen may not either, but this is last chance to become PM. If a compelling case can be put to him he might just say yes. The PM's forthcoming trip is the last chance for a coup to happen pre-election.

Of course, another reason to move now would be to help influence the list rankings for 2008. We can't see Clark, if she remains in power, doing Goff and the right any favours in these list rankings.