His declaration that 'socialism is not a word I use' was not only not criticised it was applauded by 'New Zealand's leading left wing commentator' Chris Trotter.
Cunliffe's real desire is to distance Labour from the era of Helen Clark and Phil Goff rate rather than develop a new and substantial progressive political project. The fact is that Labour, and those who cheerlead for it, don't actually think there is any validity in an alternative social and economic system to the prevailing one.
Of course Labour is going to have to campaign for the votes of people it has betrayed time and time again. Offering little in the way of a real alternative the claims that it will be 'different' from the Labour government's of the recent past are already less than convincing.
We have witnessed the slow and inevitable death of Labourism and social democracy.
Unfortunately, nothing has yet emerged in this country to replace it. We are a long way from having our own Syriza. We aren't even at the point of conducting discussions to form a new broad party of the left - which is what is happening in Britain now.