Stacey Kirk writes:
Labour’s gift horse has well and truly bolted.
The party started the week polling in one of the strongest positions it’s been in since leader Andrew Little took the reins.
With the help of the Greens, Labour began neck and neck with National. And against a Government that should have been besieged on multiple fronts – still struggling with a housing crisis and questions over its handling of potential trade threats from China. …
What came the day after however, was simply ineptitude.
Ignoring the fact that Trade Minister Todd McClay was the weak link on the issue over China’s trade retaliation threats, Little took the lead and tried to make the muck stick to Prime Minister John Key instead.
To do that, it pays to get the facts right first.
In the house, Little questioned the PM over whether the “Government’s decision not to investigate substandard Chinese steel imports” was connected to trade threats from China.
Actually, no such decision has been made, and the allegation is around steel dumping, not quality per se.
He also asked whether exports “blocked” from entry into China was a similar coincidence.
Again, nothing has been blocked, and the decision by Zespri to defer a week’s worth of shipments was its own in response to temporary barriers put up by China.
Key strolled through, unscathed. It should be said, of no special skill of his own.
The lesson was apparently learnt, with trade spokesman David Clark taking over in following days – going slow and steady, but most importantly – well researched and focused.
Little did so badly in the house he had to sack himself and hand the questions over to David Clark!
Labour entered the week with a podium position on a platter, but Little dropped more poles than New Zealand’s equestrian team.
That’s not going unnoticed by the caucus.