Labour Leader David Cunliffe is defending his leadership
following a period where he has been dogged by accusations he
is "tricky" while former rivals for his job Shane Jones and
Grant Robertson scored significant hits in Parliament.
The Government has labelled Mr Cunliffe as"tricky" after the
Herald revealed his use of a trust to shield the identity of
donors to his leadership campaign last year.
As he faced further heat last week over his late declaration
of an investment trust and also over his involvement in
helping one of his donors buy a luxurious holiday home in
Omaha, Shane Jones succeeded in getting the Commerce
Commission to look into allegations of anti-competitive
behaviour by supermarkets and Grant Robertson revealed
Justice Minister Judith's Collins' apparent endorsement of a
company on whose board her husband serves while on an
official visit to China.
This morning on TVNZ's Q+A programme Mr Cunliffe admitted he
could have handled the trust issue better.
"I made a decision that balanced the rights of donors to
confidentiality and the fact that we'd met all the rules -
both of the party and of Parliament - with the fact that New
Zealanders have a high expectation to know."
Mr Cunliffe said he took responsibility for the use of a
trust to shield the identity of donors, "but it was a way of
making sure I was distant from donors".
At the time, "it was an internal party matter not something
under the Electoral Act and it was felt that that was an
He said he regretted not being upfront about the use of the
"I think it was seen as a legal matter not as a political
matter and it should have been and I've already said I've
learned that lesson and moved on."
He denied he had been overshadowed by Mr Jones and Mr
Robertson in recent days.
"I'm very proud of both Shane Jones and Grant Robertson. They
are both excellent MPs and they've both been scoring hits."
"I do not believe it is all about the leader. I think it's
about the team too. So we have one mission, we have one team,
we are working to victory."
Meanwhile, Mr Cunliffe indicated that a "digital bill of
rights" one of the ideas in an internal digital strategy
paper mistakenly sent from his office to the Government, was
likely to be pursued by Labour.
"Labour thinks New Zealanders should have the right to access
the internet, secondly that we should have the right to be
free from blanket surveillance from the GCSB for example. We
want to write some of those into law so that we can ensure
New Zealanders move towards a world where their online world
However, the right to access the internet would not mean a
guarantee "to put a laptop in every home".
"It means there would be a free point of access. It would
build on things like the people's network of computer
terminals in public libraries. We'd see how perhaps we could