On one level it is funny, the other level it is far from hilarious. To deal with the humour first: Labour Party leader Andrew Little and his backroom team – a team which tends to have a higher public profile than most Labour MPs – thought it would be a very good way to illustrate the housing crisis by staging a photo opportunity in the back streets of Otara.
Unfortunately Little went to the wrong place and stood in front of a house where the people were living in the car because the house was being renovated not because it was overcrowded. As an aside, for some reason at least one of the television channels chose not to mention this lapse in basic political competence. Others were not so gentle: the result being the Labour Party, once again, being unable to do the political equivalent of walk and chew gum at the same time.
Having worked for four leaders, I’m aghast at how incompetent the management was of this. Normally you would check out every detail in advance, rather than have an angry home owner deny they are over crowded.
David Garrett pointed out how it is normally done:
I am generally a “cock up rather than conspiracy” man…but you have to wonder if this truly was just a fuck up…
I recall in the 2008 campaign ACT pulling a stunt at Mt Eden prison based on one of our claims that, if 3S had been in place before they were killed (i.e. the killers would have been in jail at the time), “77 people would be alive today”…Rodney came up with the inspired idea of propping 77 coffin lids against the walls at Mount Eden prison, and laying it on for the cameras.
The “77 people would be alive today…” claim was based on research I had done following a series of OIA questions well prior to being selected to stand. Before he authorized the stunt Rodney grilled me on the basis for the claim, and demanded to see the OIA’s I had asked and the answers, to see for himself whether the claim stacked up. The stunt went ahead, and we got a lot of media mileage out of it.
All someone had to do to check this one out was have someone reliable go to the house and talk to the bloody occupants! Who didn’t take even that basic step, and why, I wonder? Surely they no longer have a job??
You can’t just blame the staff for this. Little as Leader needs to do what Hide did, and personally grill people to check that what they are about to do won’t explode in their faces.