Armstrong on Cunliffe

February 22nd, 2014 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

writes in NZ Herald:

The Party is guaranteed one thing in the countdown to this year’s general election: there is no danger of peaking too soon.

Indeed, if the three-year electoral cycle is likened to a three-lap middle-distance track race at the Olympics, then most of the other parties are currently jostling for room on the back straight before rounding the final bend for the sprint to the finish.

Meanwhile, Cunliffe-led Labour is still at the starting blocks, slowly taking off its dark-red tracksuit and planning nothing more taxing than an afternoon stroll.

Harsh. Not entirely false.

The opinion polls since have offered little succour. The party’s rating at just under 32 per cent in the latest Fairfax survey, which indicated National might be able to rule alone, is said to have had a chilling impact on the Labour caucus.

The continuing high levels of support for National are making a nonsense of the two absolutely essential tasks required of Cunliffe.

First, he has to build a mood for a change of Government when there is no sign of any such feeling abroad in the wider New Zealand electorate.

Second, Cunliffe has to persuade voters that Labour is the party that must be given a strong mandate to carry out change.

That would normally call for fresh ideas to excite voters. The problem for Labour is that the voters do not want to be excited and are happy with what is dubbed the “progressive conservatism” that is the hallmark of John Key.

As it is, Cunliffe has precious little to show from his five months in the job. A peaceful Labour Party conference and a comprehensive byelection victory in a safe Labour seat do not really count for much.

And the problems:

There is also a lack of urgency, which is failing to provide the momentum to keep Labour in the headlines for the right reasons – rather than trying to ping John Key for living in a “leafy suburb” when you do likewise.

Cunliffe has also been unlucky in losing his office chief of staff – an absolutely pivotal position.

Much speculation on who will take that job. It’s rare to have a vacancy in that role so close to an election.

Tags: , ,

28 Responses to “Armstrong on Cunliffe”

  1. Roflcopter (463 comments) says:

    Cunliffe has also been unlucky in losing his office chief of staff – an absolutely pivotal position.

    DPF – “Much speculation on who will take that job. It’s rare to have a vacancy in that role so close to an election.”

    Seriously, who would want it… other than Greg “Cunliffe Fanboi” Presland?

    Vote: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  2. jims_whare (403 comments) says:

    Might need to be someone who is an ex fisherman who’s first name is Peter, Andrew, or John? Definitely not Judas….

    Vote: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  3. chris (647 comments) says:

    That would normally call for fresh ideas to excite voters.

    The problem for Labour is they keep peddling the same old stuff with the same old faces. They scoff at National when a whole bunch of MPs aren’t sitting again at the next election, but at least there’s an attempt at rejuvenation. Labour just don’t get it: they need to retire Trevor Mallard, Annette King, Phil Goff etc and get some fresh new talent in.

    Vote: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  4. berend (1,711 comments) says:

    Armstrong: The problem for Labour is that the voters do not want to be excited and are happy with what is dubbed the “progressive conservatism” that is the hallmark of John Key.

    Progressive conservatism???? Look if you don’t want tax cuts, want double the borrowing of Labour, an extremely slow rebuilt of Christchurch, gay marriage, euthanasia, no increase of the super limit, why vote anyone else than John Key?

    Vote: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 12 You need to be logged in to vote
  5. chris (647 comments) says:

    @Berend, I think you’d get all those things if you voted for the other guys too. Doesn’t really matter who you vote for, you end up with the same stuff. Labour do their policies, National do little (or nothing) to roll it back.

    Vote: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 8 You need to be logged in to vote
  6. berend (1,711 comments) says:

    @chris my point. Why vote for Labour if you already have Labour?

    Vote: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 8 You need to be logged in to vote
  7. mandk (998 comments) says:

    It seems to me that the real problem for Labour is that they are devoid of any ideas on the issue that continues to concern people most: the economy.

    Vote: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  8. Chthoniid (2,047 comments) says:

    My theory is that every time someone makes a claim that’s a throwback to the issues of the 70s and 80s (pick Muldoon, Springbok Tour, even asset-sales aren’t a hot-topic given there’s very little left to sell) more and more people tune them out. Too many of them are trapped in the battles of old against Muldoon and Ruth Richardson.

    Vote: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  9. tas (625 comments) says:

    chris: “they need to retire Trevor Mallard, Annette King, Phil Goff etc and get some fresh new talent in”

    The problem is that they don’t have any fresh new talent. Seriously, who have they got? The best candidate they could find for a by-election in a safe Labour seat was Poto Williams and they needed to parachute her in from Auckland.

    Vote: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  10. OneTrack (3,114 comments) says:

    Labour just don’t get it: they need to retire Trevor Mallard, Annette King, Phil Goff, David Cunliffe, David Parker, Grant Robertson, Shane Jones, Jacinda Ardern, Clayton Cosgrove, Chris Hipkins, Nanaia Mahuta, Sue Moroney, etc., and get some fresh new talent in.

    Thanks Chris.

    Vote: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  11. igm (1,413 comments) says:

    So long as they continuously come out with policies of envy, and appeasement to bludgers, they are dog tucker. Listening to them in the House is bloody mind boggling. If any of them could show some success prior to trough snouting, they may get some respect.

    Vote: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  12. OneTrack (3,114 comments) says:

    berend – “Progressive conservatism???? Look if you don’t want tax cuts, want double the borrowing of Labour, an extremely slow rebuilt of Christchurch, gay marriage, euthanasia, no increase of the super limit, why vote anyone else than John Key?”

    Chris has already addressed this, but how about :

    Look if you want tax increases, want double the borrowing of National, Christchurch rebuild coming to a standstill, compulsory gay marriage, immediate introduction of euthanasia, an increase of the super limit (so if you are labourer who’s body has had it, you will just have to keep working), money printing, increased company regulation, exchange rate to crash, family home value to drop, capital flight, limits on freedom of speech ( climate denial to be a thought crime) then don’t vote for John Key.

    Vote: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  13. OneTrack (3,114 comments) says:

    “Too many of them are trapped in the battles of old against Muldoon a”

    And the hilarious thing is, most of the policies they now talk about, are pretty much exactly what Muldoon did. And that didn’t turn out too well.

    Vote: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  14. Manolo (13,837 comments) says:

    Who could to trust a party that includes Trevor Mallard, Phil Goff, and Annette King as members?
    Old shameless troughers well past their use-by date.

    Add to the mix Toothie Arden and Queen Mahuta and the scene of desolation is complete.

    Vote: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  15. BeaB (2,125 comments) says:

    I love this dimwitted idea of a slow rebuild of Christchurch. Have you seriously looked at the size of the task, the infrastructure that has to be restored, the demolitions, the planning, the need to attract investors back, the availability of labour etc etc. It amazes me that anyone still thinks this was going to be an overnight thing.

    Christchurch will still be being rebuilt in 20 years time. In the meantime, just thank Gerry for getting everyone to where they are now. Kiwis, and especially Christchurch, would be mired for decades in arguments if it weren’t for him.

    Now they can all just amuse themselves blaming him while he, Sutton and the rest get on with the job. I am deeply impressed by the competence of everyone involved in rebuilding roads, planning the new city and co-ordinating the most complex job NZ has ever faced.

    However the armchair brigade will always think it could all have been done with the click of a finger.

    Popular. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 20 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  16. Fisiani (1,039 comments) says:

    The economy is growing at 4% , employment is up and unemployment is down, wages are rising and health education and law and order are all showing proof of improvement. Why would any sensible person want to change such a successful government? The answer is that all the sensible people do not want to vote for change.
    Let’s be clear. If you want continued improvement and progress then Party Vote National. If you do not then vote anything else. Anything else risks ruining the country. Sensible people are in the majority and must not be swayed at the last minute by trivia conjured up to appear to carry the same weight as the above. The Cunliffe can try to trick you and try to deceive you but will fail because we are sensible.

    Vote: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  17. Yoza (1,879 comments) says:

    Indeed, if the three-year electoral cycle is likened to a three-lap middle-distance track race at the Olympics.

    I wonder if Armstrong could name the current 1200m Olympic champion?

    Vote: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 15 You need to be logged in to vote
  18. wreck1080 (3,923 comments) says:

    I think labours alliance with the wacko greens and that labour are out of touch with their traditional support base are to blame.

    Cunliffe hardly seems like a crusader for wage slaves.

    Vote: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  19. johnwellingtonwells (137 comments) says:

    Maybe the party should be renamed “The desolaton of smaug”

    Vote: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  20. mandk (998 comments) says:

    @johnwellingtonwells,
    “The desolation of Smug” would be more apt.

    Vote: Thumb up 17 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  21. slightlyrighty (2,475 comments) says:

    The chief of staff role is a vexing one for Cunliffe and Labour. Politics and political roles such as this attract people with ambition, but anyone with political nouse and a dose of realism would recognise that taking this job at this time would be joining a sinking ship. Labour, due to it’s current state of disarray, simply cannot attract the sort of people it needs to do that job. Ambitious glory seekers will stand for office while the political junkies work behind the scenes.

    What political junkie wants to board a ship with a skipper that has no pull with the crew?

    Vote: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  22. berend (1,711 comments) says:

    @OneTrack, you have the typical National Party hack response: the other guys would be worse!!!

    What a great defence.

    May I remind you that John Key is basically continuing the Helen Clark program? Spies on New Zealanders? Happy to participate with the NSA so they can get all our phone records, and recordings as well, because we’re not US citizens.

    And has borrowed 35% of GDP or more. $300 milliion a week. You really think that’s such a great record, and that his borrowing won’t come to haunt us?

    Vote: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 12 You need to be logged in to vote
  23. Ross Miller (1,704 comments) says:

    berend … you saying so doesn’t make it right. ‘Spies’ on NZrs’. Well certainly crim.dom ain’t one of ‘us’ but I take it from your comments that you oppose any and all surveillance activities undertaken by the SIS and or GCSB. Russell Norman would be proud of you.

    Yes, National has borrowed at the same time you and yours were canvassing the mantra of ‘let them eat cake’.
    Guess you’ve forgotten about the wind back of the ETS, the welfare reforms, changes to the RMA, changes to employment law etc, etc. All opposed to the death by the political Left and, this year, we start paying back debt.

    MMP means National needs coalition partners and I have to say I am comforted that, in the main, the MPs that ACT have sent to Parliament have shown no great desire to promote the rabid right agenda that you seem to espouse.

    Vote: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 1 You need to be logged in to vote
  24. holysheet (397 comments) says:

    What bloody log have you crawled out from under berend?
    Your comment about borrowing $300 mill a week defies logic. So what if they have. Its what they are doing with this money that matters. My understanding is they are just replacing the past borrowings as they mature with new borrowings. I bet the interest rate being charged on this new borrowing will be at a lower rate given we have one of the best performing and safest economies in the world.

    If Liabore were in govt during the past 5 years, the economy and the country would be ratshit.

    Vote: Thumb up 16 Thumb down 1 You need to be logged in to vote
  25. bc (1,367 comments) says:

    With Shane Jones on a roll with the Countdown issue, I bet some people in Labour are feeling they bet on the wrong horse.

    Vote: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  26. Brian Smaller (4,023 comments) says:

    Labour just don’t get it: they need to retire Trevor Mallard, Annette King, Phil Goff etc and get some fresh new talent in.

    But their fresh talent will be the same old trade, public service and teacher union hacks the same as the current lot are – just a bit younger. Their sense of entitlement to rule and fiscal irresponsibility will be exactly the same.

    Vote: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  27. RightNow (6,994 comments) says:

    According to this Stuff poll, Winston and Russssel are both doing a better job than Cunliffe
    http://www.stuff.co.nz/lightbox/national/politics/9726172?KeepThis=true&TB_iframe=true&height=500&width=680

    Cunliffe could well lead Labour to third place this election.

    Vote: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  28. tuesday88 (11 comments) says:

    Agreed about the unrealistic expectations about the rebuild. I live in Chch, and see dozens of horizontal infra-structure rebuild projects on the go, hundreds working on those, as well as the building construction going on employing thousands. Remember that some projects are the size of entire cityblocks (like the justice precinct), and they have to have the horizontal inf in place first, so of course the rebuild it is going to take many years.

    I believe some people are just whiners, cant see the big picture, dont understand building, or the extent of the damage that has been done below ground, or all 4. Either way, it is the biggest economic/building undertaking in New Zealand’s history, so to all the haters out there, STFU.

    Vote: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote