Cullen on what the left are doing wrong

Mike Smith at The Standard blogs an extract from a recent speech by Michael Cullen. I’ve blogged on a similar speech of his previously, but some stuff there worth emphasising:

There are some facts we need to take into account.

First, John Key is a phenomenon – the modern-day Holyoake. We spent 12 years underestimating Holyoake to our cost – we’ve spent nine years underestimating Key. Every now and then we think the tide is turning but I see no evidence of that in the polling data. Key still has numbers which are stratospherically good by historic comparisons – we must recognise that, and the amount of time that we spend on attacking Key is largely a waste of time.

Yet this is what they try and do week in and week out. They’ve done it for nine years so far.

Second, Labour is well behind on leadership and economic credibility – no-one has ever won government by being behind on both.

The leader is Andrew Little and finance spokesperson is Grant Robertson. I think they’d do better if they swapped roles.

Broad areas of agreement on policy – sustainability which for me is the unifying over-arching concept. Issues of inequality and poverty – but let us talk about levelling up instead of levelling down – that is why growth is important because we have to redistribute the dividends of growth – no government has every got elected by redistributing a static cake.

How many Labour policies are about increasing economic growth?

In terms of Labour itself there are four things we nee to recapture. First is choice – for young people what they want to know is that we will enable all people to have choice.

How many Labour policies are about increasing choice? How many are about removing choice?

Second is aspiration  – party that has stood for hundred years for opportunity has lost the concept that we help all people to get ahead. Need to be careful – attacking the super-rich easily turns into people feeling that we are attacking those who are trying to do well.

Only 6% may earn more than $100,000 (and they pay 37% of income tax) but a good 40% or so aspire to earn that much, or have family members earning that much.

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