Two interesting quotes from Andrew Little on The Nation (TV3 Sat 10 am) which I have to challenge:
Oh I think if you look at parties that are freshly in opposition, where we are polling is actually very good. If you have a look at Labour in opposition during the 1990s, we were polling in the low to mid 20s. We’ve been hovering around 30 or just a fraction above it. I think in only one or two polls we’ve come in just under 30, but around about 30 is not bad for a party freshly in opposition.
I’m not sure if Andrew actually believes what he is saying, or if this is just spin, but let us look at the reality.
First of all one has to remember that in the 1990s there were other large leftwing parties such as the Alliance and NZ First.In 1996 Labour got 28% and could have governed with the Alliance and NZ First. Today they only have the Greens so anything below around 40% probably means opposition for them.
But in 1991, Labour’s average poll rating (TVNZ polls) was 42%. Their average for 1991 – 1993 was 40%. Since the 2008 election the average has been 32%.
From 1994 to 1996, Labour did only poll in the 20s. But both the Alliance and NZ First were polling up to 30% each (not at same time). The centre-left was well ahead of the centre-right.
From 1997 to 1999, Labour averaged 41%.
After National lost office in 1999, National averaged 38% in both 2000 and 2001. It was only in 2002 that National dropped down to a 32% average, and we know how that election went.
So Labour’s ratings in opposition are not historically high. They are significantly lower than any other Opposition, apart from the period when the Alliance and NZ First was splitting up the left vote.
Well we have to work with our Maori constituency, our Maori members, our Maori MPs and with the Maori electorate, the wider Maori electorate out there, who still vote for Labour in droves in terms of the party vote. So we still have that support out there. Ideally you would like to think that given the issues that the Maori Party typically deal with, what their kaupapa are, that we would have a constructive relationship with them. But it’s a two way street, if they don’t want to have that relationship, if Te Ururoa Flavell’s statement is correct that he doesn’t particularly care, there’s not a great deal that the Labour Party can do about that, but what we can do is continue to work on those issues that are important actually to working Maori people, working Maori families, and to lift their living standards. That’s what we’re committed to doing.
I thought this statement came across as rather arrogant, almost blaming the Maori Party for the bad relationship.
If Andrew was smart, he’d talk to Phil about reining in Shane and Trevor’s attacks on the Maori Party. Shane Jones has said he sees his job as to destroy the Maori Party and wipe them out. So, any surprise that Mr Flavell is not feeling too warm towards them.
And need one be reminded of Helen calling them haters and wreckers and the last cab off the rank.
I sometimes think Labour is deliberately trying to lose the election, or to make it as hard as possible to win. They rank Chris Carter higher than Steven Joyce, they fail to get any of their deadwood to retire and they still treat the Maori Party as unworthy supplicants, despite the fact it is almost impossible for them to form a Government without them.
The only thing left for them to do is to announce their policy of increasing income tax on rich pricks, bringing back all the best memories of the last Government.