Leggett on Labour

blogs at Pundit:

It seems the underlying premise of recent comments by some “outsider” activists and politicians like myself are correct: isn’t
 aiming for 40% plus of the vote because they neither want – nor know how – to go about winning it. Those in charge of the party know the only way to keep the agenda and the caucus small is by keeping the vote low and encouraging the Greens and Mana-Internet to grow their support in the next Parliament. “Hopefully,” they say, “we can stitch together a rag-tag coalition of the weird and the wonderful.”

As a life-long (moderate and pro-enterprise) Labour supporter, I would rather the party win significantly more people like me and get the vote to say 38%, than appear as they do, which seems to be a preference for Hone, Laila and the Greens to be elected to the next Parliament instead of good candidates further down the Labour list.

David Cunliffe said he wanted to poll higher than National. Then it was he wanted to make 40%. Then it was make the high 30s. Then it was the mid to low 30s was the target for victory. Now it seems Labour regards anything higher than the 28% they got last time as an improvement, and as Nick says, hope Hone, Laila, Kim, Winston, Russell and Metiria an get then over the line.

A talented Wellingtonian, with proven electoral appeal told me that last year he offered himself up as a prospective Labour candidate for Ohariu. He was advised however by the senior party person he asked not to bother because he wasn’t a woman. If I revealed who he is, I’m sure most people would agree that had he been selected, Peter Dunne would now be looking down the barrel of voter-enforced retirement.

The unofficial man ban at work!

Deciding also against a well-credentialed and popular local candidate in Kapiti District Councillor, Penny Gaylor, Labour sent an unmistakable message that winning Otaki off National is not a priority. 

(Ed – Rob McCann won that nomination). These are two examples that show how far Labour has positioned itself away from communities. The party appear not to care about re-establishing bases in and amongst communities in provincial and suburban New Zealand by selecting candidates who god forbid might actually win some votes.

Labour’s highest ranked new list candidate, their Ohariu and Otaki candidates all are (or were) public servants. Now nothing wrong with being a public servant – we have many good ones. But if you want to win seats and votes, you need broad appeal.

Meanwhile there are list MPs approaching their third and fourth election this year in seats that should be winnable but somehow they have never managed to win. Some of these MPs have again been rewarded with high list placings, so where is the incentive for them to win those electorates? The bigger question is, why doesn’t the party appear to care?

Labour faces the possibility of not getting a single new List MP into Parliament.

It seems Labour has given up on gaining votes from aspirational workers who want to own their own home, those who strive to run a small business and the people pottered throughout every class, culture and community in New Zealand who care deeply about reforming the systems and policies that continually fail our children.

Labour has to start behaving like a force that stands for a cause again, rather than a defender of the status quo that screams madly every time the government says it wants to reform something. It must move again to become a party for the public, not just the public service. 

Better still, it would be great to see some reform ideas from my party.

Absolutely. That’s a great line – a party for the public, not just the public service.

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