Here’s what Little can learn from Canada’s JFK.
Sunny – not sulky – ways
Trudeau didn’t go negative. He had poise even in the face of ridiculous attacks on his hair – and Stephen Harper’s attack ads.
“You can appeal to the better angels of our nature and you can win while doing it,” Trudeau said.
His campaign focused on a “positive, optimistic, hopeful vision of public life”. He warmly embraced refugees, as opponents fear-mongered.
This “tone-at-the-top” was emulated by the party as a whole – from candidates through to volunteer door-knockers. Post-election polling showed Trudeau was the main attraction for 20 per cent of Liberal voters.
John Key did the same. He was elected by being positive about how NZ could be better, but not by costant opposition and negativity.
Little and Labour are relentlessly negative. Yes, it’s the Opposition’s job to keep the Government honest – but there comes a point in the election cycle when you have to offer up a fresh, and credible, alternative.
Labour are well past that point. And these problems are exacerbated by Little’s evident frustration. The more the party fails to get cut-through, the more defensive he gets.
The worse they do, the angrier they get, and hence the worse they do.
National has already got their 2017 message sorted: stable and predictable government. Labour are all over the place. While they try to keep the focus on the housing crisis, its MPs are easily distracted by pointless Beltway concerns.
This isn’t helped by Little’s insistence on fronting every issue-of-the-day out of a desperate need for air-time.
He wants to overtake Winston as Preferred PM.