One morning a few weeks earlier Little was on RNZ’s Morning Report talking to Susie Ferguson. She asked him, what was Labour going to do on day one to improve the lives of New Zealanders? It didn’t sound like a hard question, but Little couldn’t answer it. He talked about jobs and health and education. She seemed surprised and pressed him. He seemed affronted and repeated his answer. It went on like that.
A few weeks later Andrew Little appeared on Kathryn Ryan’s Nine to Noon show on RNZ and it was the same story all over again. She fed him “aren’t you going to do this?” lines and he obfuscated. He got angry. Angry isn’t urgent. Angry is alienating. Urgent is inspiring.
I’m amazed that considering National is so unsubtle with labeling him Angry Andrew, that he so often does what he can to make that label stick.
It used to be a commonplace that the day John Key resigned all bets about the future of the National-led government would be off: the party, it was assumed, did not have a successor capable of maintaining its extraordinary popularity.
Don’t count on it. Bill English has a powerful, forward-looking front bench. They are energised by their new leader and comfortable mixing reformism with the innate conservatism of the centre-right. They’ll steal winning ideas from anyone – especially Labour, as they have shown with their appropriation of parts of Labour’s impressive Kiwibuild programme.
Boring Bill English could lose the election for them; Pandemonium Paula could do that too. But Labour should not rely on it. Bill English is a sophisticated, likeable and confident leader – and that means this election will be as hard for the centre-left to win as ever.
From what I hear some (not all) Labour MPs think they have already won the next election.