Cunliffe is purportedly intelligent. He has degrees from Harvard. He has been around politics for a while. He speaks articulately. He espouses Labour policy easily. Physically, he is quite a dominating figure. He presents well. He holds an Auckland seat for Labour (not easy considering how blue Auckland is these days).
But how bloody hamfisted has his "coup" been? Shockingly, is the answer. That alone must end his political career. Not because of his disloyalty (per Heather Roy, ACT ~ 2009-2010) but simply because no one in his party could ever trust him again, and further, because it was the worst coup ever. Except for one - Heather Roy's silly attempt at the ACT leadership of a few years ago.
All Cunliffe had to do was pick up the phone and call Heather and ask her if publicly criticising the leader and secretly undermining him within the party and within the caucus was a good idea.
She would have said "look where I am now".
That would have cost him a few dollars. Failing to make that call has cost him his career. A text to her would have been even cheaper. Then again, when did Labour MPs ever understand the concept of price on a market.
The tragic thing from afar is that all that both these MPs (Roy & Cunliffe) had to do was knuckle down, work hard, advance their portfolios and they both had ministerial careers ahead of them for years, and years.
It's astonishing how politics, power and personal ambition can affect purported intelligence.