I’ve found some of the spin from Labour around the unprecedented 80% drop in an Opposition seats’ majority in a by-election very amusing.
The worst excuse is from Su’a William Sio, who said:
“Low-income people can’t think about the future, let alone about voting in a by-election, when they are being forced to focus on just surviving.
So Labour almost lost because low-income people are focusing on survival. Worst spin attempt ever.
Audrey Young also highlights some terrible spin:
Some in Labour who should know better are creatively suggesting that Labour actually did better in the byelection than the last general election, despite having its majority slashed from 6155 to 1080.
From three senior figures has come the suggestions that Kris Faafoi winning 47 per cent of the candidate vote on Saturday was a better result than the 43.9 per cent party vote that the party got in 2008, when Winnie Laban stood.
That is like comparing raisins and sheep droppings.
So true. Phil Goff is one of those pushing that desperate line.
I saw on Twitter a blog post titled “Reflections on Mana” on Red Alert had appeared. I clicked on the link wondering which MP would be spinning. And I saw it was Grant Robertson, and commented to the person with me “Aha, this will be very very clever spin”. And so it proved.
Grant did something none of his colleagues could do, and something very different to Kris Faafoi’s own comments. He praised Hekia.
I also think Hekia deserves some credit. She is an articulate person who campaigned hard. Most importantly in terms of the result she has been campaigning/working in the electorate non-stop for about four years, compared to Kris’ few months. That makes a differenece. She had a profile and that worked to her advantage. She did not win, but no doubt she feels she put in a good result
Everyone in the press gallery knows Hekia is a very good MP, who ran a good campaign. Grant makes the point that Hekia had a head-start on Kris, and this is right. But what is implicit, but worth stating explicitly, is that the head-start is only useful if you use it effectively. Hekia spent two years supporting community groups, helping with fundraising, sorting out constituent problems, arranging Ministers to visit etc etc. If she had not done that (and done it well) then her headstart would not have assisted her much.
And the challenge for Kris is to spent the next year showing if he can be as effective as Hekia.
There are no doubt some things from a Labour point of view that we would want to do better and different. That’s the nature of a campaign.
And again Grant shows his smarts. Conceding there were mistakes made (but carefully not detailing them) means that his blog post comes over as balanced, thoughtful and not some desperate piece of spin. He should offer tutoring to some of his colleagues in political communications.