Strong support for National won't last - Cunliffe

David Cunliffe
David Cunliffe
Labour Leader David Cunliffe says support for the National Government will "corrode" over coming months as public discomfort over perceptions of crony capitalism such as the Oravida affair grows.

Commenting on a Herald-Digipoll result this morning which showed support for National rising five points to 50.8 per cent, Mr Cunliffe said Prime Minister John Key and his party were benefiting from being in power for some time and "a temporary upswing in the economy as a result of high dairy prices and an quake insurance payments".

In the poll, National showed no sign of being affected by allegations of a conflict of interest that engulfed high flying minister Judith Collins which gained momentum during the polling period.

However, Mr Cunliffe said he expected that would "filter through" and affect National over time.

"And as it's part of a broader narrative about National and crony capitalism I think National will corrode because New Zealanders do not like the idea that Government ministers are using their position to enrich themselves, their party and their family."

Mr Cunliffe said the poll, which had Labour slipping below the 30 per cent mark, showed "we've got more work to do".

Referring to questions around his use of a trust to receive donations to support his leadership campaign last year, Mr Cunliffe said: "We expected to take a hit, we did and now we're moving on".

"It reflects a particular point in time that's already behind us. We're in a new phase now announcing new policy around our economic direction with an important speech on forestry tomorrow and I think you'll seen in more detail where we're headed."

Mr Cunliffe also expressed some doubt over the accuracy of the poll.

"Our internal polls show us unmoved in the mid- 30s."

Meanwhile, Ms Collins faced further questions about the Oravida affair this morning, particularly around the October dinner in Beijing which she, along with her senior advisor Margaret Malcolm, "close friends" Stone Shi and Julia Xu from dairy and seafood export company Oravida, and a senior Chinese border control official attended.

She said she did not know who paid for the meal.

"I've already said I didn't pay for it. Margaret Malcolm didn't pay for it the taxpayer didn't. I don't know who did and I haven't asked."

Asked whether the fact that it appeared either Oravida or the Chinese official paid for dinner added to perceptions of a conflict of interest, Ms Collins, said: "actually it doesn't", before walking away from reporters.

The fact Ms Collins walked away from questions about the dinner was "not a good look at all", Mr Cunliffe said.

"She should come clean. Who paid for the dinner? Who was the Chinese official? Why did the ambassador not attend? Those are what New Zealanders want to know... they want to know how deep the conflict of interest goes.

"This is a minister who is on the run. Ministers who are on the run can't stay running forever and there's much more to come out on the Collins story. Labour is aware of other matters which will be brought to the public attention in due course."

- By Adam Bennett of the New Zealand Herald

Labour creating bogymen.

If Labour ever wish to become the Govt of New Zealand and Labour Leader David Cunliffe wants to be the next Prime Minister then they had better come up with something better than accusing the National Party members of the perceptions of crony capitalism. They Labour need to stop creating bogymen then harping on for months on end about the perils of these bogymen.In this instance accusations of crony capitalism.

I and most other people want to hear from Labour what they will do if elected to Govt. I and most other people don't wish to hear Labour chanting on and on about the National Party and of what they have done or are going to do. Come on Labour stop trying to bash up the National Party just to make yourselves look good, it's not working.

Cunliffe dalliances

The two statements below reflect a typical David augur based without fact.  The Labour government of the Auckland City Council gave themselves a hefty salary raise - far beyond what would be considered normal, and the Labour government of Auckland is paying about a 30% interest amount on its borrowed money.  This will put Auckland in financial straights if a doleful turn in growth happens in the next few years.   About his statement on "trust" - if he expected to take a hit then why did he do it in the first place ?  I'm not pro National - but I could not force myself to vote for Cunliffe dalliances that seem to pop up every week.

I think National will corrode because New Zealanders do not like the idea that Government ministers are using their position to enrich themselves, their party and their family." /questions around his use of a trust to receive donations to support his leadership campaign last year, Mr Cunliffe said: "We expected to take a hit, we did and now we're moving on".



A drowning man - - - - - - - !

Clutcher Cunliffe?

Who paid for the dinner?

Good grief. If Cunliffe really wants to become NZ's next PM he needs to think a heck of a lot bigger and better than "who paid for the dinner?".

I'd guess New Zealanders don't really care anymore about what Judith Collins did or didn't do in China to be honest.  And as for "much more to come", so far Labour have been woeful on that front too.

People are more interested in getting on with more important stuff in our daily lives (not the flag either) than a conflict of interest, real or not.   For sure, Collins has stuffed up by not letting the PM know the full story and is on final notice, but for Labour to go on about it just means they have - as others have pointed out here already - nothing of their own to offer.

Shades of Muldoon

So if National do get back into power they may need to at least have some policies. They've sold just about everything worth selling. How is Bill going to balance a budget? Borrow, borrow, borrow if he can.

Below 30 versus over 50

Yeah, OK. Strong support has remained for National for the past 6 years and it's likely to stay that way until the election. Polls are an indication only but still, history would say elections are won before the mid-way point of the term. David Cunliffe is just talking it up and should be worried about his own party winning. If the Greens won more support Dr Norman could be almost the new leader of the opposition.

Labour Leader not popular

Like it or not John Key is immensly popular and is seen everywhere and anywhere there is a media opportunity. Due to his evasion over the donations to his trust issue and his rather odd persona, Cunliffe is already pretty much unelectable. Shearer was a nice guy but never cut through whilst being endlessly undermined by Cunliffe. It's very late to change leaders but if Labour stick with the status quo they face plenty more time in opposition.


Polls are meaningless - they failed to predict Winston First returning. Maybe the trends have some meaning but even then...

As for Cunliffe saying support will erode for National - haven't they been saying that since National got in? Then when Shearer was installed? Then when Cunliffe was installed? Furthermore, citing National's failings as a catalyst for Labours success instead of citing Labours strengths for Labours success is very poor form for the leader. It's McCarten attack style, and NZ'ers hate politicians bickering.

Also, aligning yourself with the occupy movement against perceived crony capitalism is hopeless unless you have hard evidence, otherwise middle New Zealand will continue to write Labour off. Lack of evidence destroyed Goff and Shearer. Most NZ'ers like the idea of NZ business being pushed by politicians in China because we continuously hear how important China is. 

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