Watkins says Labour needs a game changer

Stuff reports:

’s danger is being seen to be dwelling too much on a negative like  foreign trusts when the Government is talking up the positives.

That has been the story of the last seven years . Which is why Labour needs a game changer.

At the half way point, the perception that National is cruising to a fourth is starting to cement.

You can see it  in the drooping shoulders on the Labour and Green benches. They’re fighting the fight and no one is listening

I have fairly regular chats with folks from Labour and the Greens. Almost without fail the topics of conversations are what chance there is National will get a 4th term, who will replace Key – and when, and the Labour leadership.

I always say that I think National’s chance of a 4th term is around 60%. That is pretty optimistic as the last fourth term was in 1969! The chances should be less than 20%, so I think 60% is pretty amazing.

Almost without fail the folks from Labour and Greens push back against my 60% prediction and say they think it is 95% or 98% or the like. They can’t see Labour doing well enough to post a serious threat. They are always much more bullish about National’s chances than me.

Only NZ First leader Winston Peters seems capable of disrupting the Government and Key’s narrative.

It’s the classic minor party pendulum swing. While Labour and Little sink, Peters is on the rise. And it’s not just his poll ratings. National’s internal polling said to show Peters’ favourability ratings also improving. For a leader as polarising as Peters that’s a significant shift. And it poses a dilemma for Labour

Embrace Peters and voters would see that a Labour, Greens, NZ First alliance could conceivably form the next Government. Labour needs that to take root to reinvigorate the activists and turn out the centre-Left vote.

Peters is far too long in the tooth to let Labour get away with that one of course. He has so far rebuffed Little’s attempts to cosy up and why wouldn’t he? If Peters is king maker at the next election National is a far more likely proposition.

Peters prefers a two party Government to a three party Government. If he holds the balance of power I hope he chooses Labour and the Greens. However if National is on say 45% and Labour on say 28%, it is hard to see him making the guy who got 28% PM.

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