The Labour Party caucus looks likely to remind Cunliffe that ski poles aren’t the ones that matter

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Alf has observed with huge delight the latest issue to divide the benighted Labour Party.

It’s whether David Cunliffe should have taken a holiday.

Cunliffe was in Queenstown last week for a skiing holiday with his family

The Sunday Star-Times today reports that the decision to take a break – or was it the decision to take a too-brief holiday in Queenstown? – has been questioned by Labour MPs according to a party source.

“David Cunliffe works 16-18 non-stop days, pretty much 7 days a week, with a few hours for family on one weekend day. I have been his media director since January; in that time he has had perhaps about 6 days leave from a highly demanding schedule that would have flattened most ordinary people,” media director Simon Cunliffe said.

The three-day break was a well needed rest as the gruelling election campaign begins in earnest, his camp said.

“For the record, David Cunliffe spent three days, Monday to Wednesday, with his family skiing. He was back at work on Thursday doing regional visits and meetings with Labour Candidate Liz Craig in Queenstown, and then travelled to Timaru for a day of media… on Friday. So he was working,” Simon Cunliffe said.

However, Labour MPS are disgusted by Cunliffe’s skiing holiday just two months before the election and will question his work ethic at a caucus meeting on Tuesday, a senior party insider said.

Disgusted?

They obviously are an emotive lot in the Labour Party.

Labour’s polling (it is trailing National by 30 percentage points in the latest Stuff-Ipsos poll) has fouled their language as well as their ambitions.

“A lot of MPs are really f….. off about it,” the insider said.

“They are all working hard up and down the country, and f…… Cunliffe is on holiday. Guys like [Phil] Goff and [Annette] King and [David] Shearer, these guys really want it badly and they are working like their lives depend on it. And I think they are a little incredulous about what the guy is doing.”

Alf imagines “f…..” is a naughty word in polite society.

“It sounds a little treasonous, but the guy doesn’t want it badly enough. If he did, he would be working. I think it is disgraceful behaviour, and not the sort of behaviour becoming of a guy who wants to be prime minister.

“We will be having a talk to David at caucus about his work ethic on Tuesday. We’ll be letting him know he’s got two months to turn this around, and we’re backing him and right behind him but he’s got to lift his game.”

A namby-pamby leftie scribbling nonsense under the guise of Micky Savage has posted a pile of pap on The Standard about Cunliffe and life balance.

He/she approves of Cunliffe’s taking a break with his family during the school holidays.

David is somewhat unusual for a politician. He is happily married to Karen who he has been with for decades and has two sons. His family life is important to him and he recently did what many kiwi families did and had a short break away. He is the leader of the Labour Party, a party that was formed to protect and enhance workers lives, so trying to get a bit of work life balance should not be thought of as a negative thing.

It is not as if he was the only politician to do this. Amongst many others John Key was in Hawaii and Jonathan Coleman was also away. Their absence meant that they were not able to adequately respond to the incredible disclosure this week that political pressure had been put on the SIS to allow Kim Dotcom to stay in New Zealand but I did not see their absence criticised in the main stream media.

The unnamed “insider” who spoke to the Sunday Star-Times is more hard-headed.

He or she sees a “world of difference” between an incumbent prime minister enjoying 52 per cent support in the polls and an opposition leader trailing nearly 30 points behind.

He or she moreover believed Cunliffe’s decision to go on holiday showed he didn’t have the qualities to become prime minister.

“David says family is really important to him, and I get that, but the thing is if you don’t like the rules, don’t play the game. Politics involves sacrifice, and it is hard on families. David knew this… he’s been a cabinet minister and an MP for 15 years.

“Six months out from the election he should have said to his wife and family, ‘sorry darling, you’ll see me Sunday evenings, the rest of the time I am up and down the country. That’s what his MPs are doing and Phil Goff’s wife hardly ever saw him for the three years he was leader, he worked like a demon, and so did Helen [Clark].

“He’s just not got the work ethic and the question is, does he want it that badly, it almost seems as if he wants the glory, but he hasn’t got the guts. The ones I speak to are all shaking their heads and going ‘for f…. sake’. You just don’t, two months from an election, take a week off. Every day he should be going out and talking to hard-working Kiwis up and down the country, in big cities, little towns, the provinces, across both islands – not skiing. It offends me.”

Some people might think Cunliffe has done no more than take Alf’s advice in buggering off for a bit of skiing.

Nah.

Alf’s advice was that Cunliffe go far, far away for a very long holiday.

Not just 10 days. Ten months.

Even better – 10 years.

The effect in rejuvenating Labour’s prospects would be magical.

But let there be no mistake about Alf’s loyalties – he is as thrilled as the Labour insider is disgusted by Cunliffe’s carry-on.

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