Cunliffe: Three months, three gaffes

Last updated 13:44 04/03/2014
Fairfax NZ
DAVID CUNLIFFE: Three gaffes in three months is bordering on accident prone, writes Vernon Small.

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Three months and three gaffes.

OPINION: It is an understatement to say it has not been the greatest start to election year for Labour leader David Cunliffe.

The slip over the baby bonus, by failing to disclose in his speech that it would not be paid on top of parental leave, took much of the wind out of his January sails.

It also deflected attention from a $500 million spending pledge that Labour had hoped would set the agenda.

No sooner was the House back in February than the $2.5m property-owning man was attacking Prime Minister John Key for living in a leafy suburb and defining his own mansion as a doer-upper and his own situation as middle of the road.

The climb-down came at the weekend.

This morning he has admitted it had been wrong to set up a trust for donations to his leadership bid. (If the cost was about $20,000 for his leadership campaign, why seek donations at all?)

That from a man and a party that has attacked National's old habit of funneling donations through entities like the Waitemata Trust and joined in the condemnation of Finance Minister Bill English using a trust structure for his Wellington pile.

Cue, too, unwelcome echoes of former Labour leader David Shearer's memory lapse over his undeclared United States bank account.

One gaffe might be unfortunate, two careless.

Three in three months is bordering on accident-prone.

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