The Herald interviews the contenders. Some extracts:
Q: What is the first thing you would do as Labour’s leader?
• Shane Jones: Upgrade the Leader’s Office, get some smart people in there and get a professional office manager so that the Leader’s Office is a permanent man-o’-war.
Harsh. Jones has just implied the current office has no smart people in there.
Q: Is the Green Party making too many gains at Labour’s expense? If so, what will you do about it?
• Shane Jones: I am going to harvest and find my votes in Middle Earth – not flat earth.
A great line!
Q: Why is Labour not connecting with voters?
• David Cunliffe: The first task is to ensure our own party base is enthusiastically behind the leadership and policies. We also need to give the 800,000 who didn’t vote last time a reason to believe. And we need to restore the confidence of many people who used to vote Labour, but drifted to the Green Party or voted Labour under Helen Clark but have gone to National under John Key.
• Shane Jones: There is an unfortunate perception that Labour is dominated by middle-class intellectuals who no longer know how to relate to the bloke lugging meat at 4 in the morning into the supermarket or the woman putting her kids off to school before they go and work two jobs in a day. A lot of politics is about emotionally connecting with people. One way of connecting is for them to see a bit of themselves in the personality putting his hand up to do the work.
• Grant Robertson: We’ve struggled to get a clear direct message that speaks to people’s everyday lives and to connect our values with the policies we are putting forward. I do believe we’ve got a good mix of policies, with more to come. The challenge is articulating them in a way New Zealanders say “my life will be better under a Labour Government”. I think I can do that.
Effectively Cunliffe is saying he will energise the base, Jones is saying he will expand the base and Robertson is saying he’ll change little and just communicate better than Shearer.Tags: Labour Leadership