The case of the missing Cunliffe

Matthew Beveridge has an interesting post about David Cunliffe going missing in action, failing to appear at the Labour caucus meeting and question time (in order to give a speech to the Institute of Directors, without media) and pulling out for a second time from Campbell Live’s invitation to have him host John Campbell at his home for dinner.

The decision to disappear for a day in order to give a speech to a bunch of company directors in Auckland suggests some terrible media and diary management going on the Labour leader’s office, but it’s the no show on Campbell Live that perhaps raises eyebrows the most.

John Key appeared on Campbell Live a few weeks ago, cooking a BBQ at his home for John Campbell. It wasn’t particularly interesting viewing, as one heard the same stories one always from Key on those sorts of occasions. Nonetheless, Key sells himself well. Everyone knows he’s got money coming out of his ears, but he’s good at playing the Everyman.

Cunliffe, on the other hand, doesn’t seem to know who he should be. His attempts to paint himself as one of the middle class battlers are, frankly, comic, as evidenced by his ludicrous attempt to paint his Herne Bay home as a “do up”. Perhaps that’s why he’s nervous about having John Campbell wandering through his house with cameras. He knows that everything Campbell Live films may be used against him in the court of public perception.

You would think that a leader of a major political party, who keeps explaining away his bad personal poll ratings by saying “the public just haven’t got to know me yet”, would leap at the opportunity to “be himself” at home in a largely sympathetic Campbell Live segment. That is, unless that leader is having difficulty deciding which Cunliffe he should be, and that leader doesn’t want a camera exposing the lifestyle that leader actually lives…


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