The Dom Post editorial:
However much Labour nabobs may try to spin the Mana by-election result, they cannot disguise that it was a walloping for their party which shows it in danger of again being the wallflower next year. …
The bald reality for Labour is that it, in what is according to many politicians the only poll that counts, came uncomfortably close to losing the seat. Its majority of more than 6000 has been turned into one of a smidgin over 1000.
The National Party achieved a 6.6 per cent swing against Labour on a straight two-party comparison – something that just does not happen in by-elections where the disgruntled usually take the chance to give the party in power a kick, even if just to show they can.
This is a key point. Governments generally do not get swings towards them in by-elections.
However, their biggest concern must be the inability to convince voters they should have a problem with the Government, much less that Labour has the solution to that problem.
Labour had set much store in its campaign to scrap GST on fresh fruit and vegetables, and hammered the rise in the cost of living during the campaign. It did not translate into votes, particularly in the middle-class areas of the electorate. Nor did its heartland supporters get out and vote in sufficient numbers to send a message. …
One of Mr Goff’s predecessors, David Lange, was fond of saying that elections were usually won or lost nine or 10 months before polling day. That is around now.
Mr Goff’s problem is not that he has not yet overtaken National. It is that he is standing still, or even going backwards.
Voters hung up the phone on Labour long before the last election. The Mana result confirms they are not yet showing any sign of being willing to pick it up again, much less agree to a date.
Part of Labour’s problem is the domination of the parliamentary wing with figures from the 5th and even the 4th Labour Government.
The core front bench is 100% former Ministers, and only Charles Chauvel is on the extended front bench.
Phil Goff has talked about a reshuffle. He should do one before the year ends, and promote some of the Class of 2008.