The Herald reports:
The David Cunliffe experiment has failed. Eight months into his leadership Labour is polling below what it was under Phil Goff and David Shearer.
The election is less than four months away.
The danger for Labour is that its poor polling will collapse its vote, as happened to National in 2002. Its low polling became a self-fulfilling and accelerating prophecy. Polls matter.
Labour’s unimpressive showing may well cause even more votes to drain across to the Greens and New Zealand First. …
Cunliffe has an added burden. His caucus didn’t want him. He was thrust on it by party members and the unions. That wouldn’t matter if he were succeeding. But he isn’t. There will be a lot of “I told you so” going on. The lack of caucus support makes a lonely job even lonelier.
And yet it remains a tight race. Labour could poll badly but still put a government together, with considerable concessions.
The Green’s Metiria Turei and Russel Norman would be deputy prime ministers and would dominate policy-making.
Winston Peters would be kingmaker and would demand his pound of flesh.
Hone Harawira would be Minister of Maori Affairs. The Internet Party would be in government being dictated to by Kim Dotcom.
A Labour-led Government with Labour on just 30% of the vote would be a very weak unstable Government. They would be just 60% or so of the entire Government.
It comes back to the polls. They put Cunliffe on the back foot and Key on the front. Cunliffe is now desperate. He needs a lift.
“I just need to push the polls up a bit. I need to change the story … hmmm. Immigration. That always works for Winston. I’ll give that a shot. I will dress it up as housing policy. The party’s woolly woofters will be upset. But what the hell? I’ve got nothing to lose.” It’s called dog-whistle politics. Sadly for Cunliffe, the only ones who heard it were Labour activists.
Getting desperate indeed.