Toby Manhire 's Opinion

Toby Manhire is a Wellington-bred, Auckland-based journalist.

Toby Manhire: Grant, David and Shane ... in a nutshell

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Herald graphic
Herald graphic

They have put their hands up. They have placed their names in the hat. They have put on the hat with their other hand and thrown it into the ring. The race to be the leader of the Labour Party, and very possibly the next Prime Minister of New Zealand, is on.

Should you have missed any of the first week's cuddly contretemps, here, from memory, is a snack-sized digest of the candidates' pitches so far.

Grant Robertson

I offer a new generation of leadership that can unify our party, and lead us to victory in 2014. Let's get into it.

When people ask me if I'm ready to lead the party, I say: Look, I should be judged on my ability to bring the party together and focus on the issues that matter to New Zealanders.

When people ask me if New Zealand is ready for a gay Prime Minister, I say: Look, I should be judged on my ability to bring the party together and focus on the issues that matter to New Zealanders.

When people ask me if I'm paying by cash or Eftpos, I say: Look, I should be judged on my ability to bring the party together and focus on the issues that matter to New Zealanders.

David's great. Shane's great. But I am Labour's future. No disrespect to them, but they're very old. I am new, and yet I've been here forever. The middle of Labour. As middle as the Beehive lift well. Not that I know that much about the Beehive. I'm new.

New Zealand. The All Blacks. Broad church. Fair go. Look, I should be judged on my ability focus issues unity experience future New Zealanders future unity hello is this thing switched on?

David Cunliffe

I offer a new generation of leadership that can unify our party, and lead us to victory in 2014. Wait. Whoops. Technical error. Mea culpa. What I mean is: Fairness, equality, prosperity, the intoxicating scent of a socialist red rose.

I believe the children are our future, the wind beneath my wings. Look at the stars. The great kings of the past look down on us from those stars. At least that's the feedback I'm getting.

The Labour Party Episode VI: New hope. New vision. New beginning. Stiffen the sinews, summon up the blood. Suckle the potent milk. That's what people are saying to me.

I've learned my lessons. Watch what you say to Patrick Gower and shave daily. Grant's great. Shane's great. That's what I'm hearing.

Don't get ahead of yourself. Feet on the ground. Humbled. In peace there's nothing so becomes a man as modest stillness and humility. But when the blast of war blows in our ears, then imitate the action of the tiger! That's what people are saying to me as I travel up and down my electorate office.

The game's afoot. Follow your spirit, and upon this charge, cry: New Hope. New Lynn. New New Zealand. Nouvelle cuisine. New bloody broom.

Shane Jones

Sigh. Well, this is all a bit of a bore but I have been prevailed upon by proclamation and thus I oblige. Watch me mobilise, enliven, animate, etcetera.

I am Jonesy, communicator second to none. Ideas, personality, ability, without a doubt.

Resonate here, invigorate there. I am the resonator, the invigorator, etcetera.

I am Jonesy, and I speak the lingo of the garden-variety smoko room. Not for me the disenfranchising didacticism of esoteric university graduate vernacular. Bro.

John Key is a $50 million gorilla. Up and down the country, hope and vision, broaden the base, etcetera.

New, New, New Zealand! A New Zealand so new you could wrap it in tinsel and call it a spaceman.

New blue Zealand? Yeah, come on. I'm not running to be pope, I'm running to be a gorilla. I will tell you this much: you have to eat humble pie if you want to dine on bread and butter with grass roots in a broad church, without a doubt.

David's great. Grant's great, etcetera. We're red blooded, blood brothers, but we all got different mothers. Unity. Man unity. Welding not gelding. I'm a man, that's what I am, wham, bam to that Waitakere Man ban, ma'am, bro. Etcetera, and without a doubt.

- NZ Herald

Toby Manhire

Toby Manhire is a Wellington-bred, Auckland-based journalist.

Toby Manhire is a Wellington bred, Auckland based journalist. He writes a weekly column for the NZ Herald, the NZ Listener's Internaut column, blogs for listener.co.nz, and contributes to the Guardian. From 2000 to 2010 he worked at the Guardian in London, and edited the 2012 book The Arab Spring: Rebellion, Revolution and a New World Order.

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