A tale of two Cunliffes

Fran O’Sullivan writes:

Cunliffe also uses an essential duality – which has been accurately pin-pointed as “talking out of both sides of his mouth” – to try to assuage middle-class and politically adept New Zealanders that he doesn’t really mean all the tosh he threw as bait to Labour’s bedrock base to garner voting support during his leadership campaign.

What fascinates and frustrates is that it is difficult to work out which side of Cunliffe’s mouth will triumph if he ends up this time next year as Prime Minister.

Will it be Raging Red Cunliffe or the former consultant for Boston Consulting Group?

But at year’s end, Labour under its new leadership is no further ahead in the political polls than it was at the start of the year.

The pendulum has swung back again towards National, with the optimism indexes showing much of the country in good heart and the Government poised to post a return to Budget surplus next year.

The problem facing Cunliffe is how he can convince enough voters the country is on the wrong track given the resurgence in economic growth. This growth will continue into next year as a result of a range of factors including Auckland’s housing boom, big demand for dairy exports, the Christchurch post-earthquake rebuild, immigration and the favourable terms of trade.

Overcoming this is no easy feat for any politician even one as experienced and competent as Labour’s leader.

My predictions – lots of tax and spend promises.

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