David Shearer has moved ahead in the race for the Labour Party leadership, after a number of prominent figures endorsed his candidacy.
Shearer received a critical endorsement yesterday, when political commentator and National Party member David Farrar declared that Shearer would be a better choice for the party.
And the prospects of Shearer’s rival David Cunliffe were dealt a savage blow yesterday, when former Labour MP John Tamihere attacked Cunliffe’s choice of Nanaia Mahuta as deputy leader.
While Tamihere is no longer closely involved with the Labour Party, he remains highly influential amongst the party’s most sexist brain-farting boofhead pea-brained loudmouths.
But it is the endorsement of David Farrar and others that may end Cunliffe’s leadership bid.
In an opinion piece in the New Zealand Herald on Friday Farrar praised Shearer for not having an ideological dislike of the private sector, and for supporting the involvement of private companies in UN peacekeeping and security operations.
Shearer’s chances will receive a further boost if he can also secure the support of a group of influential former Labour MPs that includes Sir Roger Douglas, Richard Prebble, David Caygill and Peter Dunne.
He will also be hoping that John Key, the most popular PM in decades, offers his support.
Shearer’s greatest asset is that he is largely unknown, even though he appears to be backed by many of the party’s longest-serving MPs, some of whom have been in Parliament for more than two decades.
His opponent, David Cunliffe, is promising a “cleanout”, while those long-serving MPs backing Shearer appear convinced that the cleanout must start at the very top, provided it ends there.
The prospect of a cleanout and radical change will terrify those MPs who think that the only reason for Labour’s loss is that voters collectively made a terrible mistake. Many MPs remain convinced that radical change is not called for and that the voters will miraculously wake up some time before 2014 when John Key’s smile fades.
Shearer remains something of an unknown quantity, and it is possible that despite being supported by the party’s old guard and by right-wing figures outside the party he will prove himself to be a reformer and a powerful spokesperson for social justice.
That would be a bitter disappointment to many, particularly those who have the most to fear from a change of direction by Labour.