Over at the 3News website, Duncan Garner has been pretty forthright about leadership aspirant David Cunliffe. Under the headline Why does Labour hate David Cunliffe so much Garner blogs:
The majority of Labour politicians clearly dislike David Cunliffe. With a passion. And with a serious degree of what now looks like hatred and mistrust.That's become so very clear to me this year - but even clearer since I released our 3 News poll on Sunday night.I suggested David Shearer might be rolled before the next election if he couldn't get his numbers up. And while not many in Labour denied that - they all said Cunliffe won't replace him. Over their dead bodies.In fact, Labour MPs have openly joked with me that Cunliffe, who is away on a lengthy family holiday overseas, should stay there.Two very senior MPs have told me they would like an internal travel fund set up to keep Cunliffe out of the country for as long as possible. How nasty is this caucus? He is clearly not missed.But Cunliffe is not only disliked by his caucus - he is not trusted. So many have told me he never delivers on his promises and is sneaky and lazy.Sources have told me Shearer was advised to demote him when he became Labour's leader, but Shearer resisted and said he wanted to work with Cunliffe.That hasn't worked apparently - my sources tell me Shearer is deeply disappointed with Cunliffe and he feels let down. This relationship cannot last.According to Shearer's sources, the Labour leader no longer trusts Cunliffe. That view is shared by the majority of the caucus.
This is pretty sensational stuff from Garner. Given the number of stories that Garner has leaked over the years that could only come from within, it's not difficult to conclude that Duncan Garner has good connections within the Labour caucus. And clearly, he has been told to peddle this anti-Cunliffe story.
The fact that David Cunliffe is currently overseas is significant. Attacking him in this manner when he is not around to defend himself is a low blow. But Cunliffe himself has been one of those Labour MP's who has personally attacked John Key, for among other things taking his holidays overseas, so on that count at least he is fair game.
But this seems to be a calculated attempt by elements of the Labour caucus to discredit David Cunliffe. Who might the guilty suspects be, and who would have the most to gain?
We doubt that it would be Shearer himself. But both the Leader's Office and the party organisation are now dominated by supporters of leadership aspirant Grant Robertson. We wonder if it is from within that support crew that Duncan Garner's sources dwell.