Morning reading

Now that David Shearer has a few notches under his belt: winning the leadership, allocating portfolios and an Address in Reply speech, the pundits are starting to weigh in with their views. Labour took a big gamble in picking Shearer, and at least so far, it seems to be working. Key’s response to Shearer’s speech was shrill. Shearer has got under Key’s skin already.

Key and Shearer clash in Parliament (3News)

His debut speech was a strong one on Parliament’s first day, attacking government policies set out earlier in the speech from the throne and vowing Labour would earn the right to lead in the next election.

Shearer vows to listen, learn and act (Audrey Young, NZ Herald)

New Labour leader David Shearer used his major debut speech in Parliament as Opposition leader to promise change in Labour following last month’s election loss.

Prime Minister John Key scoffed at the promise, ridiculed Labour and said Mr Shearer had delivered a speech that former leader Phil Goff would be proud to have written.

And from the UK…

Labour party shadow cabinet agonises about economic message (Patrick Wintour, Guardian)

Labour high command has been holding a series of discussions on why the party has not yet made a breakthrough with the public on the issue of economic competence, despite falling living standards and an admission by the coalition government that its growth and borrowing forecasts are worse than foreseen.

Labour officials say the meetings – including one on Tuesday – are routine, but privately shadow cabinet members are concerned by polls showing the government is managing to avoid blame for the slowdown.

The Labour discussions have reached a new pitch since the autumn statement and the government’s admission that austerity will continue until after the election, so undercutting the central pillar of its deficit reduction plan.

The debates have been stirred up by a paper by the centre-left thinktank Policy Network, entitled In the Black, calling for fiscal conservatism.

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