We would be hard pressed to find anyone believing that David Shearer was anything but ‘a gentleman’ in terms of how he has acted and conducted himself since attaining the top job for the Labour Party. Even his opponents grudgingly admit that, although some of them were a little more forthcoming with the politico-babble in Parliament yesterday, just to score pathetic barbs aimed more at the party than at David himself.
David has gone and now the real test begins. The last 20 months have been a disaster for Labour, mainly because they could not consistently galvanise their efforts to support David and the direction of the party. The writing was on the wall and individuals behind the scene have probably been preparing for the events we witnessed yesterday for quite some time. That David recognized this says a lot about him as a person. He has put the party before his own personal ambitions and done the right thing.
Now the party has a chance to implement the changes around leadership formation and act in a manner that we have rarely seen. The sharing of voting rights between party members, MPs and union affiliates means that a process can now be put in motion, leading to more open debate and less of that ‘backroom’ rubbish that has so often led to a ‘winner’ in name only. If Labour gets this right and demonstrates that it is capable of conducting a dignified leadership transition, the public may start to believe that they can lead NZ again. If personal agendas can be put aside or at least made secondary to the overall purpose of the party, then there is hope. The only factor that will work against this is that very human desire---- to win, at all costs. Labour----this time get it right---for the sake of New Zealand!