Analysis: Jim's not a happy chappie

Make no mistake - Jim Anderton is not happy.

The appointment of his political enemy, Matt McCarten, to become Labour's new chief of staff in this election year went down like a lead balloon as far as Anderton was concerned.

But the wily political veteran knows he has to do his bit not to engage in what would be a distracting and potentially damaging public stoush.

The bad blood between the pair goes back more than a decade, so don't hold your breath waiting for them to kiss and make up.

But Anderton knows he has to bide his time on this. He is considering writing a tell-all book on his career, but don't expect it to be in bookshops before the election.

Come out swinging now and he undermines David Cunliffe - the last thing the Labour leader needs months out from the election with his poll numbers stuck in first gear.

The savvy strategist in Anderton knows he must not say or do anything that helps National and slamming McCarten's appointment would only fuel rumours Labour has a divided caucus and a bitterly torn organisation behind the scenes.

Politics runs through Anderton's veins. He may not openly admit it but he revelled in his role as campaign manager in last year's Christchurch East by- election and would have been looking forward to helping replicate that successful result nationwide.

But McCarten's presence changes all that.

Anderton said, through gritted teeth no doubt, he would not be actively engaged in this year's campaign.

"That has a bit to do with the present situation but I don't want to go there."

That comment speaks volumes but it is all anyone will get out of him over this issue. Anderton may be hurting, but he is also loyal.

The Press