So it’s election year. And I’m a thoughtful, intelligent, relatively non-partisan kind of guy. So I thought I’d do some thinking about what each party should do in the run-up to the election.
Today, my thoughts turn to Labour. Oh bless you Labour. You truly have been an ineffective opposition these last 5 and a bit years. Let’s see if that changes.
Leadership: You installed the right leader, for now, however he’s not quite delivered like most thought he would. Mr Cunliffe you need to get out and define yourself. At the moment no-one knows what you really stand for and you can’t fall back on personal charm to mask this. John Key is a bit of a Rorschach test for New Zealanders. We see in him whatever we want to see in him because he has charm and charisma and a sort of likeable every-man appeal (despite being worth eleventy billion dollars). Unfortunately you are not blessed with the same gifts. This means you need to define yourself with policy. Boring but effective. I think the reason people got so excited about you was that you seemed to be carving out some positions while you were running for leader, but since then you’ve been wishy washy, and negated by your own caucus. Crack the whip, make some bold policy statements and stop fucking around. Your country needs an effective opposition leader.
Caucus: Fuck’s sake guys. You got the leader you didn’t want but that’s tough titties. Now work with him for the good of the country, not for the good of yourselves. Besides, even if you lose the election and try to knife him you’re still likely to end up with him because the union and member base love him so. And then he’ll have carte blanche to just wipe the slate clean. So it’s definitely within your best interests to pull together as a unit. People keep saying that there’s more talent on the Labour front bench than the National Front bench and that’s probably true, but you’re not showing it. Get out there and talk about what Labour stands for. Don’t tell me what National is doing wrong, tell me what you’ll do differently instead. People have been hyping Grant Robertson and Jacinda Ardern for years. Show me why. Make them more visible, they’re young and appeal to a good target demographic. And then if you’re worried about losing the bigoted vote you can always trot out Shane Jones and Damian O’Connor.
Strategy: Here’s an idea, instead of telling us how much New Zealand sucks and how we’re all losers who are poor and jobless, why not tell us that under Labour, New Zealand will be a better place. Be aspirational, not negative. Chase the American Dream. The politics of envy just isn’t working for you. Put together a coherent strategy, not one that has discrete attack points – give me your vision for New Zealand because right now I don’t know what you want. “Fixing inequality” is meaningless without some backbone behind it. Oh and stop making rookie mistakes. Remember when John Key demanded Phil Goff “show him the money” and he couldn’t and you looked ridiculous? Yeah, that’s still going on. Put some rigour into your research. Check every sentence before it’s made public. GET IT RIGHT.
Attack Steven Joyce. He’s allegedly National’s “Mr Fix-it”, but he’s actually buggered up a lot of things. MBIE isn’t delivering, the UFB is turning into a right schmozzle and Novopay continues to plague us. Clare Curran got it right when she issued a release calling him “Mr Cluster Fix”. Use that. Humour. And attacking Joyce. Two things you don’t do enough of.
Outlook: Bleak. I don’t think they have the internal fortitude to pull it all together. I would say their only chance of getting in is if National doesn’t have enough coalition partners. And then New Zealand will most likely be faced with a party in power who isn’t the biggest. Controversial. That said, this is National’s election to lose.