We Nats should drink to Labour having confidence in David Shearer for many more years

They don't have a prayer, even if they did gather here...

They don’t have a prayer, even if they did gather here…

...rather than fortify their spirits here.

…rather than fortify their spirits here.

We’ll be sinking a few celebratory drinks in the Eketahuna Club tonight.

This follows the confidence vote by Labour’s MPs to endorse the leadership of David Shearer.

Just how much confidence was represented by the vote is a bit of a mystery, because according to the account which reached Alf at his electorate office (see here), Labour will not release the results.

But we do know that –

Under new party rules, the leader must get at least 60 percent of support from caucus or it triggers a contest on which the party’s membership and affiliates can vote.

We are further told that –

The vote took about half an hour and Mr Shearer was applauded before emerging to announce the results – saying he was safe until the election in 2014.

He said he did not know the exact result because it was a secret ballot – but he had achieved the 60 per cent threshold required – at least 22 of the MPs.

Shearer’s plans take him to Waitangi tomorrow, where – who knows? – he could find himself in the gorgeous company of Titewhai Harawira.

Alf is assuming, of course, that Shearer qualifies for the special escort service provided by Hone’s mum.

Frankly, she seems a bit old in the tooth for that sort of carry-on, but according to TV3 (here) Titewhai will be scrapping with some other sheila for the honour of escorting The Boss on to the Treaty grounds.

John Key was welcomed onto a new ferry terminal in west Auckland today, and he can only hope that his welcome onto the lower marae in Waitangi on Tuesday will run just as smoothly.

A spat between elders is brewing in the far north over who should escort him onto the marae as Ngapuhi trustees move to sideline self-appointed escort Ms Harawira.

“They have decided that one of the kuia other than Titewhai Harawira will do that,” says Ngapuhi elder Kingi Taurua. “They have decided. They have made that decision and that decision is final as far as I know.”

Alf supposes that if it comes to fisticuffs and claws, Titewhai will win the day but if the matter is somehow decided by other means she may come off second best.

In that case she may be given the job of escorting David Shearer as consolation prize, although being lumbered with Shearer for more than a minute has gotta be seen more as a penance.

But Alf digresses (as he is apt to do while settling down with his scotch).

Let’s get back to the confidence vote, which was held during the full-day caucus meeting at an old Church at Corbans Estate in Henderson.

Holding their meeting in a church rather than in a wine cellar tells us a lot about the Labour caucus.

Voting for Shearer to stay on tells us lots too.

It tells Alf we Nats now have a much better chance of staying in government than we had before the vote, and the chances then were high.

And hence the celebratory drinks. May David Shearer hold on to his caucus’s confidence for many more years.

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