Garner on Labour losing the way

Duncan Garner is brutally honest in a column looking at and Little:

It has been a dreadful end to the year for . …

The latest Roy Morgan political poll has Labour at just 23 per cent, which would give the party just 28 MPs in Parliament. 

This is the second lowest poll result for Labour in the history of the Roy Morgan survey.

And because Labour already holds 27 electorate seats, high-profile MPs such as Jacinda Ardern and David Parker would be looking for new jobs.

If Labour dropped one more per cent, Labour would not even get Andrew Little into Parliament. 

That’s the ultimate embarrassment: when your leader doesn’t make it to Parliament.

Labour’s response seems to be that there is no need to worry as they are actually in the high 20s instead of the mid 20s. Little came to power saying he wanted Labour to be at 40%.

The ‘everyman’ has been ditched in favour of this current mob. This is a narrower Labour Party, the so-called broad church has been given its marching orders.

Shane Jones is gone and desperately seeking Winston Peters and NZ First.

Phil Goff flew one-way to Auckland for another job. Clayton Cosgrove is looking for a new job and some sanity. Former Labour member Nick Leggett is poised to stand for National against his old party.

It seems to me that Labour doesn’t want the ‘everyman’ yet it wants his votes. I think Labour has lost the working bloke to NZ First and National.

They no longer identify with Little and his lightweight mob.

Labour has become a party of identity politics and urban liberals. This is why they have lost power in almost every provincial city in NZ.

I asked a press gallery journalist this week what was wrong with Little. 

She said Little can’t explain anything, he has no charisma, he’s angry and, finally, he’s not John Key. I would add that Little fumbles and bumbles his way through interviews. 

He lacks clarity and throws a few tired slogans at the public, who are likely to have tuned out a long time ago. 

He is utterly uninspiring to most New Zealanders and the polls clearly show that. Who is he? What does he do in his quiet times? What makes him tick? Is he really as unfriendly and remote as the television suggests. 

Ouch. I know one broadcaster who said their favourite guest was Andrew Little as almost without fail he would get angry on air.

It’s clear Ardern and Grant Robertson are holding back and waiting for Little to be done like a dinner at next year’s election before they make their move. 

The question is who will be at the top of the ticket and who will be deputy? And if polls don’t improve will Ardern even make it back?

This year Labour has seriously weakened its brand. And jumping into the quicksand with the Greens was a disaster. 

A whole bunch of Nelson Labour members walked away this week over reports of an electorate deal that would see Labour stand aside for the Greens. Labour has denied any such deal.

Labour’s poor polling is just further confirmation that the party and its MPs are simply failing to reflect public attitudes and sentiments.

A year out from the 2014 election Labour was polling 34 per cent and National 44.5 per cent.

Right now Labour is at 23 and National is on 49.5.

The gap is massive and Key’s reach after eight years is as wide and as strong as ever.

But it seems unconscionable that a clearly proud and historically strong party can be so devoid of invigorating ideas and broad public appeal. 

Their main idea is to adopt the former Alliance’s policy on tertiary education and turn the clock back to the 1970s.

After almost 3000 days in opposition, Labour looks more clueless now than it did at the beginning of that process. That leaves me to ponder this – are they finished as a major political party?

I don’t think so. People said the same of National in 2002. But Garner may be right as Labour is in the 20s in their third term in opposition, not their first. And National had Brash and Key as leaders to act as circuit breakers.

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