Three Labour MPs have broken ranks in recent weeks – quite loudly and very publicly.
They are interested in one thing: self-preservation. They want to win their seats and they’ve given up relying on their party. They are clearly concerned Labour will poll poorly on election night, so they’ve decided to run their own campaigns – away from head office and away from the leader.
These MPs have either chosen not to be on the list or they have a low-list spot. They are vulnerable. It’s all or nothing for them.
They must win their seats to return to Parliament; this sort of pressure usually focuses an MP’s mind. They want to be back in Parliament and they want the $150k salary.
I’m talking about West Coast-Tasman MP, Damien O’Connor, Hutt South MP, Trevor Mallard and list MP and Te Tai Tokerau candidate, Kelvin Davis.
Take Davis: yesterday he engaged Labour in its biggest u-turn in years. He told me he supported the Puhoi-Wellsford road project that his party has openly mocked and criticised.
Labour MPs call it the holiday highway; David Cunliffe has campaigned against it. Labour, until yesterday, was going to can the project upon taking office. Who knows where they stand now!
Labour appear to have now done a u-turn on it, saying their policy now is only to delay it not cancel it. I guess it took the floods for them to realise that campaigning against better roads into Northland isn’t too popular there.
O’Connor and Davis certainly look in touch with middle New Zealand, their electorates and their issues. They have given the one-fingered salute to their struggling party and put self-preservation first.
Who can blame them?
We may see more of this.