Is David Shearer Labour's John Key?

You have to admire Phil Goff in parachuting David Shearer into Mt Albert. In Shearer he has a candidate that can appeal to both sides of the political spectrum. By all accounts he is a nice guy, well liked and has an impressive career of public minded service, particularly of late at teh UN in Iraq.

Shearer certainly does appeal to both sides. Clearlyhe is the favourite for Mt Albert having the defacto endorsement of the party machine from Wellington. But also importantly he has crossed the centre line and appealed to right wingers such as myself, David Farrar and now Matthew Hooton.

Matthew Hooton has written a superb article in the NBR outlining just exactly why David Shearer is the perfect candidate for Labour. In fact with David Shearer in place the by-election becomes a two horse race between tweo very strong contenders. David Shearer and Ruseel Norman. National’s candidate whomever it is will fall well down the rankings behind those two, down with the other minor parties.

Hooton writes about Shearer;

Labour has no choice but to select Mr Shearer as its candidate this Sunday, with any other decision representing a public humiliation of Mr Goff by his own party. Mr Shearer should then win the seat convincingly.

His selection will mean Labour will never again be able to cry “privatisation” when contestability of service delivery is suggested, and will open the possibility of a more sensible debate about the current structure of the SOE portfolio. New Zealanders can only gain, both as consumers of public services and investors in state assets.

This is precisely why Labour and Phil Goff must select David Shearer, to move Labour across the centre line. It could be that David Shearer is labour’s John Key and we could be looking at the next Labour Prime Minister. Andrew Little then faces a dilemma, back the party or go for the Clarkist candidate.